Gratitude: are there reasons to be grateful?

This pandemic context, the delay in the vaccine, the rise of unemployment, the economic crisis, the spread of fake news, in addition to our personal struggles, may keep us from meditate on the good things that keep happening in our life, from the most significant situations to the simplest ones. This whirlwind of emotions generates anxiety, depression, phobias and several other psychological issues.

In Brazil, the Gratitude Day is celebrated on January 6, coinciding with the Epiphany, in which Christians celebrate the arrival of the three wise men after Jesus birth. But do not be mistaken, when we point out the importance of “remembering the good things in life”, we’re not referring the so-called “toxic positivity”, that involves ignoring the facts and imagining that everything is fine instead of facing problems.

What prevents leaders and collaborators from expressing gratitude?

Gratitude doesn’t go with the work environment?

Researchers define appreciation as the act of recognizing life’s goodness – in other words, to perceive the positive aspects in each event, experience or person (as our co-workers).

Gratitude goes beyond that: it recognizes that many of the positive aspects of our life – as the career success for example – derive from external forces, mainly due to other persons’ efforts. But this kind of thinking may seem averse to the realm of hierarchies and promotions in which every person tries to get on, unwilling to assume their own confidence or expressing emotions towards their co-workers.   

We tend to look at companies as transactional places in which we’re supposed to be “professional”, therefore not the places to bring on aspects as forgiveness, gratitude or compassion. However, science suggests that are these same feelings that contribute for a work environment where the collaborators really desire to be at, where they’re not considered simply as gears of a greatest machine. Several studies point out that the practice of gratitude on the work context is linked to a wider range of positive emotions, less occupational stress and fewer health complaints. It also contributes for a reduced absenteeism, a greater satisfaction with colleagues and the work itself and a stronger sense of achievement. 

And how do we integrate gratitude in the companies’ culture? In the day-to-day activities there’s some room for appreciation?

Although expressing gratitude towards our colleagues may seem weird or even misaligned with some organizations’ culture, there are a growing number of enterprises that have been developing new ways of overcoming those barriers. Relying on the scientific research on gratitude, and many times going beyond these studies, their efforts identify specific and relevant strategies to bring the evidences to practice.

Their experiences suggest that build gratitude and appreciation cultures can transform our professional lives, resulting on deeper connections between each other and with the work we’re focused on.

Apart from the strategies to implement (promoting the creation of positive happenings diaries, sending appreciation notes to the colleagues, mindfulness practice…), it will always be about the importance of remembering that gratitude is about us as a whole, not as a “one-size-fits-all” feature, it should be welcomed and get the adhesion of the leaders to manage to be embedded in the company’s culture.

“Nowadays, managing teams, managing people, that find themselves working in the office or from home, or in layoff periods, brings on greater challenges that test the enterprises’ culture and the quality of their leadership procedures.”

In this context, it’s critical that leaders intentionally reinforce their communication and proximity efforts (physically or virtually), whether through symbolic actions and meaningful gestures to the team/organization and/or through moments of collaborative work and quality feedback, making easier the cohesion, turning work into a significant and valuable aspect, guaranteeing that each worker knows that he can contribute and be recognized by doing so. 

Alexandra Outeiro
HR Specialist
AB&C Hospitality Management and Operations


CEO & New Business Manager | Key Traits: Inspiration, Leadership, Pro-activity

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