Many working from home in recent years have already put communications within companies to the test. In those weak relationships, it is crucial to be aware of the other’s situation and to set a good example. In addition, there is no harm in anyone – from a manager to an employee – to take a critical look at their role.
59 percent of employees say they’ve never had a boss who truly valued their performance. And 53 percent would have stayed longer with their employer if there had been more appreciation.
Organizations can often do a lot to make their employees feel truly appreciated. However, little is known about the conditions under which gratitude is expressed and what effect it has on the organisation.
So three scientists from New York and Los Angeles dived into A matter of gratitude.
Wikipedia authors and letter writers
The studies, among other things, looked at the amount of confessions that authors of articles in scientific journals have expressed over the past 40 years. It turns out that the higher the prestige, the more brief the thanks in the published articles.
This same pattern emerged from a software analysis of 136,000 comments by 12,681 Wikipedia authors of varying standing in the digital encyclopedia world: Officials With more influence and power, show less gratitude from authors who have fewer rights to edit Wikipedia pages.
The higher the status, the less worrying about the relationship with others
In a simulation, the researchers themselves played the role of a low-income subordinate or the role of a superior with great power. During the simulation, participants unexpectedly received a favor from another participant who was presented as their superior or subordinate. In fact, one of the researchers took on this role, according to a specific scenario.
After receiving this service, participants had the opportunity to interact with the “Secret Seeker” through a chat window. Again, participants in a higher position showed less gratitude than participants in more subordinate roles.
In another test, participants had to write letters to express their gratitude and predict how surprised, happy, and uncomfortable the recipients would be. These recipients then shared how they felt when they received the expressions of gratitude. It turns out that letter writers significantly underestimate the positive feedback of recipients. And they overestimate the inconvenience of receiving such an expression of gratitude.
Research shows that people take good deeds more for granted the higher the ladder. The higher the status, the less anxiety about the relationship with others. People of lower stature seem to like to emphasize their strong relationship with influential people by showing gratitude.
People seem to be more helpful towards colleagues who regularly express gratitude
The importance of gratitude is not limited to the manager-employee relationship. For example, intensive care teams automatically shared more information when mothers of newborns expressed their gratitude. This is a good team performance. Another test shows that gratitude increases the desire to incorporate ideas from others – a huge boost to creativity.
Declarations can act like an oil slick within the organization; You actually reap what you sow. People seem to be more helpful toward colleagues who regularly express gratitude. In this way a “culture of gratitude” can be established in the company. This not only improves the working atmosphere, but also improves performance.
Read also: Courtesy is the foundation of a positive organizational culture
Grateful next steps
The good news is that showing gratitude can be learned. Those who now work “in the office” again, make better use of the advantages of direct contact with colleagues and express their individual appreciation as much as possible. And for home workers: Use all available communication options to maintain positive relationships with colleagues.
It is not ignorance alone that often causes little gratitude. Sometimes there are strategic reasons for choosing a more distant position. The negative effects of this are acceptable but justified in order to achieve the desired goal. The researchers believe it is important to continue to emphasize the positive effects of showing gratitude in future research.
To understand and improve communication patterns, it would be wise for psychologists and other behavioral scientists to also consider these expressions of gratitude: Where do they come from and what is their effect? The very existence of the profession of “gratitude counselor” indicates that the subject does indeed appeal to the imagination.
How do you make sure you use gratitude optimally?
- For people who (in their position) attach little importance to a good relationship with colleagues, it is a good idea to monitor the beneficial effects of gratitude on the entire organization;
- Monitor the collective (company) interest and put aside short-term individual interests for a working atmosphere in which there is plenty of room for gratitude;
- Increase awareness of gratitude and appreciation within the organization. It is often ignorance that prevents people from expressing their gratitude;