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It’s coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, a time traditionally associated with visiting family, reconnecting with loved ones, and taking a moment to indulge and reminisce. It’s naturally also a time that’s opportune for beginning to take stock of where you stand in terms of personal and professional goals, in anticipation of the coming new year. One important tool to use in reflecting on what you’ve accomplished this year and determining what you’d like to aim for in the future? Gratitude.

At Karlin Sloan & Company, one of our core values is Gratitude. We practice being thankful for our work, our colleagues, and our prosperity. We integrate ways to ritualize and celebrate gratitude.

Take a minute and think about the things you’ve achieved, goals you’ve met, and projects seen through to completion. Reflect on your health, your well-being, and the things you cherish. Be grateful for them. Think about how much importance they hold for you, and consider how lucky you are to have them. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the work you’ve done to get yourself to where you are. After all, you made the decisions and saw them through, and that’s surely a major factor in why you’ve seen the amount of success you have. It’s important to give yourself credit and props for getting to where you are, because your initiative is vital to making it happen.

It’s also important to acknowledge the help, support, and resources you drew upon to get there. One of those resources is your team that makes your organization function. The individuals who make up your team will also be taking the time to reflect on their own lives and important touchstones. When they sit back on the holiday evening to ponder the things for which they are grateful, will being a part of your team be one of them?

As Christine M. Riordan writes in the Harvard Business Review:

‘Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals. Google, which sits atop many best-places-to-work lists, fosters feelings of employee value through an open culture that promotes employee input, routinely rewards and recognizes performance, and encourages personal growth. In a recent interview, CEO Larry Page stated, “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.”’

Leaders who work to foster a sense of gratitude in the workplace culture typically see a higher level of engagement and productivity than in organizations without such a focus. It’s a reasonable expectation; if you motivate your employees, give them a reason to buy in, and encourage them to feel valued in their roles, they will perform better. And when someone performs well, feels valued, and enjoys what they do, they’ll feel grateful for it and continue to contribute. This is key to maintaining long-term success as a leader of an organization.

Riordan lists three things effective leaders do to encourage this sense of gratitude; I won’t copy the full text here, because you should read her examples, but I will list the concepts:

1. Help others develop 

2. Involve Employees

3. Support camaraderie and collegiality

In other words: cultivate talent and leadership development, seek out input and communication from all quarters, and establish a culture of empathy and respect.

When it comes time for you to sit and think about what you want to accomplish, what you’re grateful for, and what you’ll need to achieve, remember: the people you lead and serve are doing the same thing. Give them a reason to be grateful they work with you.

For more information on Organizational Change and Culture Initiatives and Leadership Development, please contact us.

(image via stokpic)