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Limitless Leaders™ Connection – Building mental fitness through a culture of gratitude

Limitless Leaders Connection Building mental fitness through a culture of gratitude

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Over the last few months with many leadership teams, we have explored the topic of gratitude and how this is being expressed in the workplace. Call it recognition, praise or appreciation; what stood out is that we need to take the time to show gratitude within and across the teams, we work with.

Many organisations focus on a ‘performance culture' and not a culture built around gratitude. This can affect the level and deepness of gratitude that employees practice. I call this ‘grey gratitude‘, it may not be intentionally stifled but it’s not hitting the mark as part of what makes up the culture.

If you are looking for employees to go beyond the contractual obligation of their roles and build mental fitness, then expressing gratitude should be part of your leadership. Acknowledging the thoughts and efforts of people with gratitude shows that those people matter and this can build a culture around gratitude which I believe is vital.

Research shows that taking the time to develop an attitude of gratitude can:

  • Build a psychological immune system, making us more resilient to stressful situations
  • Accelerate positive emotions
  • Create a greater sense of achievement of goals
  • Fewer sick days and less stress
  • Greater collaboration and connection
  • Higher job satisfaction overall

What gets in the way?

Many times, people feel awkward practising gratitude and may see it as fluffy and esoteric. The leadership team may not be on board and therefore don’t foster openness and space to build this practice into the culture. Another key blocker is people may see gratitude as a weakness and may feel left out if they don't receive gratitude in return. Many simply don’t adopt the mindset. 

We spend one-third of our life at work, that's over 90,000 hours so it makes sense to incorporate the gift of gratitude into your workplace. Click To Tweet

Gratitude can connect people. It can create collaboration and anchor positive behaviour and it’s also one of the collective skills that make up resilience.

Feelings, actions and our mindset flow from the way we look at the world and how we think about the situation – to change our feelings, we can start by thinking about what we are grateful for. Often, we find our feelings scary and confusing, so we keep them at a distance. However, shutting off our feelings not only backfires, but it drains us of the psychological energy that is needed to build resilience. We need our feelings in order to find satisfaction, meaning and pleasure in life, both in and out of the workplace.

Gratitude can maximise happiness in multiple ways, and one reason is that it helps us reframe memories of unpleasant events in a way that decreases their negative emotional impact and lets in optimism. We can let challenges deepen the way in which we are grateful – it can show us not to take things for granted.

Looking back is about learning and looking forward is about progressing. Click To Tweet

Accessing and sustaining positive emotion is key to building resilience in organisations, needed now more than ever. Focusing our attention on how far we have come can provide positive reinforcement and fuel with our thoughts to overcome challenges and setbacks. It’s like looking in the rear-vision mirror of a car – what you pass goes by quickly, but it’s easy to miss a beautiful landmark or a life lesson that you could share. 

Think about how you could flip what I call “Grey Gratitude” in your workplace to a clearer vibrant practice?

We have workshopped this question in a few companies and I’d love to share a few ideas and tips:

Share 1 situation or person you are grateful for.

  • Kick off a meeting/workshop/project review with each person sharing who or what they are grateful for in the workplace
  • An option is to capture these on Yammer/Teams

3 positives to 1 negative

  • For every negative, you or the team discuss, workshop 3 positives 
  • This reinforces the face we often focus on what isn’t working instead of the things we could be grateful for

Create a Gratitude wall-virtually or in the office

  • People can leave notes of appreciation for anyone
  • Name can be shared, or this can be anonymous

Ask a question

  • What capabilities, qualities and skills have got me to where I am today? 
  • Individually of self or share as a team

Be specific

  • When we aren’t specific when expressing gratitude this dilutes the impact and intention
  • Imagine replacing “I’m grateful for that” to ‘I’m grateful for the support you have given the team and I this month”.

It is ideal to have structured forums to share as well as spontaneous recognition and ways to show appreciation. Some subtle ways of sharing gratitude every day could be as simple as sending surprise emails to others expressing appreciation or creating a forum to share internal updates and encourage people to share.

Be mindful not to do ‘gratitude’ in overdrive – this can seem false and dilute the effects of authentically being grateful.

I would love to hear how you are incorporating gratitude in your workplace!

Lead to be limitless…

Signed Reneé



PS: Want to skyrocket your success from working anywhere? We've launched our new online program and you can read more about that here.

Ever wondered what Reneé gets up to when she isn't with working with her clients? She's doing this.

If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch.

Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you to move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renée on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here or new podcast here.

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Limitless Leaders™ Connection: Creating a Gift Mindset Culture

Limitless Leaders™ Connection: Creating a Gift Mindset culture photo

Many organisational cultures do not encourage or condone the sharing of challenges or failures and even sometimes the sharing of successes. Culture is about the shared beliefs, values, customs and social behaviour of a community. Therefore, if the culture you work within is against sharing lessons it may be something that never enters your mind, especially if that organisation is all you have ever known.

In our home life, this is the same. If you are bought up not to share failures and to just suck it up and get on with it then chances are this same behaviour will play in your life. If you are encouraged to share successes and challenges at home, at school and amongst your social network, you will be more likely to be open to The Gift Mindset®.

Not everyone works in an organisation that is open to the idea of being reflective – something which can be particularly difficult to do in the workplace. When there is a lack of support from management who don’t see the reflective practice is important, then being open and sharing your lessons can go by the wayside and be challenging to navigate. I come across companies like this, not too many which is a great thing, but enough to know the challenges people face within them who want an open, self-reflective and sharing culture.

As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Sharing is caring

Think about the return on investment and start small. Maybe initiate small activities at team catch ups to share wins and/or challenges. Maximise online platforms such as Zoom, Yammer and Teams to create space for sharing. Cultural change takes time as it starts with the people.

Comfort and fear are the enemies of progress. Click To Tweet

Shadowing and sharing the best practice of success and lessons learnt from challenges is one way to promote gradual cultural change to adopt The Gift Mindset®. This can also be done by not just talking and/or observing someone but instead really encouraging interactive conversation and questioning. What this does is allow the learner to understand the underlying reasons behind someone else’s actions, making it easier to adapt what’s learned to a new situation or task.

Involve and discuss

There was a study done in May 2012 that found that pharmaceutical development teams were better able to translate and learn from another team’s past experience when they invited members of the other team — the “sharers” of knowledge — to actively participate in their discussion and problem-solving (vs. a “learner” team simply identifying the “sharer” team’s knowledge and then trying to replicate it on their own).

Expectations create reality

Remember that our expectations can create our reality and the stereotypes we hold can directly impact our behaviour and therefore impacts culture. Psychologist call this process “stereotype threat”.

Imagine you are running a session at an SLT (Senior Leadership Team) meeting for the first time. Your manager has stressed the importance to get it right and the impact on your leadership brand, team and so on if you don’t. You are aware of the stereotype “new kid on the block” so anxiety arises about potentially making a mistake. Your manager even introduces you by reinforcing this is the first time you have presented at this level. You get distracted from your focus to present an effective presentation and instead focus on the technology not working, not coming across clearly or having your message diluted by nerves.

This is a basic demonstration of how stereotypes have the power to impact our behaviour. This means that if we place concern on a situation such as a culture that doesn’t encourage sharing of success and/or challenges we are confirming a negative stereotype. This will disrupt the ability to focus on a particular task that will lead to adopting a Gift Mindset and sharing best practice across the business.

How can you instil The Gift Mindset® in your organisational culture today?

Lead to limitless

Signed Reneé



PS: Want to skyrocket your success from working anywhere? We've launched our new online program and you can read more about that here.

 

If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch.

Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you to move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renée on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here or new podcast here.