How to Overcome Gratitude Deficit Disorder in the Workplace

As Thanksgiving approaches, consider what “giving thanks” means to you as a business leader. Think about how a simple expression of gratitude can serve as a critical component of motivation throughout your organization — not to mention improving and enriching your personal relationships.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin words gratia, meaning grace, and gratus, meaning pleasing, agreeable, thankful. It is a state of mind and a practice that should permeate all of our lives every day, not just in November when we gather with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table.

Gratitude Deficit Disorder

Unfortunately, most people feel grateful only when surprised to find themselves the recipients of an excess or abundance of good — when they win the lottery, or come face to face with someone significantly less fortunate than themselves, or land their dream job, or discover their soulmate, for example. But why wait for the experience of gratitude when enough is sufficient and when abundance of opportunity always surrounds us?

I once heard someone ask another, Which person is more grateful — the one with $5,000,000, or the one with five children?

The answer? The one with five children. Why? Because he doesn’t want any more! He is grateful for what he has.

However, when it comes to money, success, and possessions, many of us tend to always want more. That’s just human nature — or so we’re told. As soon as we have what we desire, our focus shifts from what we have to what we want. And what we still don’t have. This tendency is not always bad. In the case of business, for instance, it is at the root of our drive for continuous improvement and advancement.

When envy or greed overtakes gratitude is when we need to take a closer look at our motives. When we fail to be grateful for what we have — and for those who directly contribute to our success — we place our future success, happiness, and fulfillment at risk. After all, nobody wants to continue to contribute or offer their support when their efforts are not enough or not appreciated.

Develop a grateful mindset

While I occasionally notice leaders that are appreciative of the opportunity to lead, many leaders drive themselves to excellence and rarely take the time to appreciate all they have in their lives — especially in respect to people and relationships. They look at the day or week ahead, and the short- and long-range plan, but rarely do they take a minute to be grateful for what they’ve accomplished and who they have met along the way.

Worse, some of these executives forget to express their gratitude and appreciation to the people who contribute to making their success possible and whom also share in their struggles and victories.

As a part of our collaborative development and action planning, most of my clients setContinue reading…