The Power of Gratitude

A culture of gratitude is powerful, not only for people, but for business.
I am fortunate to lead an organization – the Chicago Network – whose members practice gratitude, understanding that culture truly starts at the top. They reflect gratitude in how they treat others as well as the ways in which they express gratitude towards their employees, fostering a culture where everyone is equipped to succeed.
A few Chicago Network members recently shared their personal perspectives on this with me:

I have a fundamental appreciation for the generations that came before me…my grandfather, my uncle and my father. I recognize that without their hard work, vision and entrepreneurial spirit, I would not have the same extraordinary opportunities that our family business offers me. Even on the more challenging days at work, I remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to work with so many special people and I am grateful for the innumerable blessings and lessons that our business has brought to my life.

-Laura Neiman, President & CEO, Neiman Brothers Company, Inc.

I bring gratitude to work every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with wonderful, smart, caring, intelligent, tenacious, humble, gracious people who realize the gift we receive every time we walk through the doors of our firm and the lights are on, the coffee pot is running, clients are calling, the court is ruling in our favor, we hear laughter in the hallways, there is an opportunity to run around as if our hair is on fire to successfully manage a crisis for a client, and we are immersed in each other’s company.

-Patricia Brown Holmes, Partner, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

Serving in my current role where I focus my energies not only on the organization’s strategic plan, but also on developing the next generation, gives me a great sense of gratitude to my mentors who gave me opportunities and guidance. My approach in life is to learn something from every person I meet. This philosophy generates an abundance of gratitude in my life, both personally and professionally – serving is a privilege.An effective leader is never looking to be thanked by others; however, being thanked is the reward. I will always remember that one cannot be a leader without followers; being impactful requires both humility and gratitude.

-Yonhee Gordon, Principal, Chief Operating Officer, JMG Financial Group

There’s a proven connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction and we see brands like Southwest Airlines regularly recognized on the coveted lists of Best Places to Work and Most Admired companies based, in part, on a culture of gratitude.
But what do we mean by gratitude and where’s the data to show its value to business?

In recent years, there has been a flurry of research done to better understand the role of gratitude in the workplace. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly. According to Kira Newman of Greater Good Magazine, current research results “link gratitude to more positive emotions, less stress and fewer health complaints, a greater sense that we can achieve our goals, fewer sick days, and higher satisfaction with our jobs and our coworkers.”

Driving a culture of gratitude in our workplaces starts with each of us. When we practice gratitude, it becomes a habit and it is contagious. In this month perhaps best known for gratitude, I celebrate my own team at The Chicago Network with thanks for their talent and tenacity. And I look toward our membership with appreciation for the example they set, demonstrating every day #WhatItTakes to lead.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, now you can download your own printable Thank You card. Click here to get the design.

For more on the power of gratitude in the workplace please visit the following resources:

The Chicago Network