Studies prove that influential people express less gratitude. Why is it so important for leaders to understand the impact of the word thank you?
Research conducted by Study Finds found that 59% of people say they have never had a boss who “truly appreciates” their work. In a separate survey, more than 50% admitted they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciated. The figures show a sad reality: Influential people express less gratitude. Why is it so important for leaders to understand the impact of the word “thank you”?
Although the benefits of gratitude in the workplace are well documented, less is known about the impact a person makes when expressing their appreciation. When employees feel underappreciated, they are more likely to quit their job or get stuck in a mediocre performance. Likewise, reaching out to old bosses and colleagues to express some gratitude can be a great chance to rekindle connections and to be considered for future opportunities. Many organizations and leaders should do more to make their employees feel valued and appreciated.
Why do lower-power people express more gratitude? Harvard Business Review found out that being a manager, executive, or having a high ranking within an organization influences feelings and expressions of appreciation. The magazine concludes that this is because lower-power people are more likely to be asked for favors. When someone is in a subordinate role, they don’t feel entitled to ask for favors. Instead, their boss benefits more from the hierarchy and expects them to fulfill all of their expectations and wishes.
Although the answer is clear, it doesn’t seem so obvious. Lower-power people express more gratitude because they hope to build strong relationships with influential people. Another finding from Harvard Business Review was that people in good positions at work are less worried about building good relationships with others. Perhaps, some of them feel they are already at the top and don’t need to act kinder to have the position (since they already have it).
As expressing gratitude is vital within organizations, especially when forming competent leaders, here are some recommendations to consider.
-Don’t underestimate the impact of saying “thank you”: Some managers may believe that expressing gratitude it’s not a big deal. However, it is. Receiving gratitude increases work engagement and guarantees better performance. This, in turn, results in more productive and happy employees that help build a healthy and active work environment. If a leader shares why they are grateful for their team members, they will also be likelier to be liked and valued.
-Expressing gratitude is more challenging during remote work: Sometimes, messages get lost in translation when they are delivered by chat. Talking in person and chatting is not the same, and our behavior, words, and attitude can be misunderstood. Face-to-face communication is considered more meaningful in terms of expressing emotions. Nevertheless, teleworking shouldn’t be an excuse for finding time to thank your team for their hard work and individually recognize each of their qualities and achievements.
-Lead by example: Bosses hoping to create a culture of gratitude in their organizations should normalize this behavior daily. Gratitude should be normalized not only in informal encounters but also in formal ones. During performance review settings or business meetings, don’t hesitate to share some encouraging words with your employees, showing them how much you appreciate them.
Saying “thank you” can make the biggest difference. It doesn’t matter your position of power at your company; your values and expressing gratitude shouldn’t compromise your professionalism at work.