To say we live in interesting times would not only be an accurate statement, it would be an understatement. Aside from the political divide in our country and the pervasive nature of the gig economy, there are also waves of AI and technological advancements moving at the speed of light impacting how we do business everyday. It’s as if we are constantly operating with constant change, only to be upended by more change.
While those economic parameters are the “macro,” the “micro” instances would be what happens inside the workplace, the times of which are also fairly interesting. For example, we live in an economic situation where there is so much competition that we’ve come to expect certain perks that leaders of yesteryears would scoff at – things like free snacks and drinks, unlimited vacation time, free lunch, and subsidized rides home.
Due to the heightened competition (as seen with the current unemployment rate), certain markets are taking sometimes extreme measures to lure the talent they need in order to successfully grow their companies. The upside is that the sheer act of working no longer feels overwhelmingly soulless; in fact, it can now be fruitful, fun, and social.
The downside is that we may be taking these good times for granted, considering that these perks can only be maintained when the going is good. Once priorities aren’t met, all the resources that were devoted to these perks in the initial stages of an active surplus will always be sacrificed for the bottom line.
Due to the anxiety of the future and the perhaps unsustainable expectations of today, what’s needed now more than ever in the workplace is gratitude. Our business and organizational leaders need to reaffirm gratefulness in our day-to-day work activities because it’s the only thing we can hold onto during the highs, lows, and everything in between. With instability knocking on our doorsteps, it falls on our leaders to guide us through every phase of our organizations’ trajectories.
Gratitude will help leaders focus on people development. When leaders are grateful for their team members, they look at them less as temporary assets that might be expendable and more as long-term investments with great potential for return. Smart and forward thinking leaders invest in their employees because they realize they are investing in their company’s future. But it’s not easy – it requires immense openness to feedback, self-awareness, patience.
Seeking consulting, researching, and managerial advice will help as well as extensive internal brainstorm sessions, and one way to possibly speed up the process is by scouring employee assessment tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. All in all, what will yield the most significant results is communicating the importance of gratitude and using gratefulness to ensure your organization is prioritizing the right projects for today and the future.
Gratitude will help leaders improve organizational culture in their companies. We as people lead by example; it’s in our DNA. It’s no surprise then that if our leaders are incorporating gratitude into their practices, it’s likely that we, the employees, will as well. If aspects of gratitude, such as happiness, compassion, and optimism, are embedded in a company’s leader’s approach, then the probable correlation is that it will translate to the company’s employees and thus their company culture.
It’s for these reasons that leaders should look at the incorporation of gratitude in the workplace as a necessity. There are too many factors out of our control – ramifications due to a turbulent political climate, unpredictable changes to the economy, unforeseen consequences of technological advancements – to assume that a company can grow without something intangible holding the company together. That force is gratitude, and it begins with our leaders.