“Measures of Gratitude” Episode 3 – Gratitude at Work

Measures of Gratitude podcast logo“With all the changing dynamics of the workplace, how does gratitude find its way in? What are the conditions it needs to thrive?”

With those questions, host Mike Lovett, senior content marketing specialist at Workhuman®, opens the third episode of the “Measures of Gratitude” podcast series, in recognition of National Gratitude Month.

It follows the debut episode when Emiliana Simon-Thomas took us on a deep dive into the meaning and impact that gratitude has on our work and personal lives. And in episode two, Elizabeth Stokoe explored the pivotal role communication plays in infusing gratitude into our day-to-day interactions.

In this third installment, Mike welcomes Emily Heaphy, an expert on workplace relationships and organizational scholarship at the University of Massachusetts. Together, they explore the impact of gratitude and positive feedback on today’s dynamic workplace environment.

Here are some of the highlights from their conversation:

1. Positive feedback is the antidote to negative self-stereotyping. Emily never thought of herself as a leader until positive feedback changed her perspective. “What’s so exciting about the process of getting affirmative stories from multiple people is that it can redirect you just a little bit,” she observed. “And over time, that slight redirection can have a big impact.”

2. People underestimate the effect gratitude has on others. As a result, many people are less likely to express gratitude to others. Emily’s current research highlights the “relational and psychological complexity of compliments and gratitude.” In her class, she has her students perform acts of kindness – while self-reflecting on what they are grateful for.

3. Gratitude enriches a person’s whole life – not just their work life. Just as employees can carry stress outside of work, they can likewise carry the positive energy of gratitude beyond their work life. As Emily sees it, “If you think about a company that is really embracing recognition, gratitude, and appreciation, they can bring that home to their families, loved ones, and friends – and cause a ripple effect.”

4. Effective feedback is grounded in hope and optimism. In Emily’s view, “in order to be receptive to ways that we are being asked to change, we also need to have a sense of hope and optimism.” Emily believes it’s about being confident in your ability to achieve great things. “If you’re feeling valued, it’s easier to take in and consider feedback.”

5. Emotions are “part and parcel of everything we do.” “Emotions can teach us a lot about what we think, feel, and should be talking about at work,” noted Emily. “I think that self-awareness – the ability to see how our own emotions, and those of others, affect us – is incredibly important. If one can develop good self-awareness, it can be a superpower at work.”

6. Being comfortable with both positive and negative emotions is a powerful force. “All relationships experience conflict,” Emily observed. “All organizations experience conflict.” That’s why being comfortable with conflict is extremely powerful. It enables you to help others work through difficult emotions and moments, and, in that way, is a gift to others.

Want to learn more?

Here are some additional resources that explore the impact gratitude can have in today’s evolving workplace dynamic.

[VIDEO] The Magic of Gratitude at Work

Nataly Kogan, CEO of Happier, and author of “Happier Now,” joins Lauren Zajac, Workhuman’s chief legal officer and general counsel, as they discuss the power of gratitude at work. Read these three key highlights from their conversation.

Is Gratitude the Most Underrated Engagement Tool?

In an eye-opening interview, Dr. Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, shares findings from his research on the science behind gratitude, humility, and joy with Workhuman’s Sarah Mulcahy.

Choose Gratitude

Workhuman evangelist Lynne Levy shares her moving personal story battling cancer – and how choosing gratitude at work changed her life. “By choosing happiness and positivity,’ she reflected, “we can all start to love what we do, come into work excited, and connect with the greater purpose of the organization.”


About the Author

Aaron Kinne

Aaron Kinne is a senior writer at Workhuman.

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