The Importance of Gratitude


“Make it a habit to tell people, thank you. To express your appreciation sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”—Ralph Marston

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness. By expressing our thanks and showing appreciation we are addressing one of the deepest human needs—that of being appreciated. We all want and need to be recognized and appreciated for our efforts no matter how modest they may seem.


Receiving gratitude, helps people experience more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, see improvement in their mental and physical health, and strengthens relationships. Within a professional work setting, stimulating these four areas will increase staff engagement.


Organizations rely on everyone’s effort and attitude. Although people may do their job, doing it with a positive attitude and sense of ownership is optional. Recognizing and appreciating how people are going about their work, reinforces the contributions they are making and solidifies their engagement. Tom Peters, the author of many leadership titles including In Search of Excellence, places saying, “Thank You” in first and second place of his 51 pieces of commonplace advice to help create and sustain the foundation for a successful organization.


“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.”—Estonian Proverb

In their book, Leading with Gratitude, authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, present the argument, supported by extensive research, that practicing gratitude leads to increased employee morale, efficiency, and productivity. All of which leads to engagement. They emphasize “seeing” those things, small and large, that deserve our thanks and making sure we “express” our gratitude often and as close to the event as possible.


When you take the time to notice what people are working on and accomplishing and then thank them for it, you are expressing your gratitude and showing them that their efforts are helping the project or business succeed. This gratitude needs to be clear and authentic and needs to mention the specific action or outcome to which you are referring.


What are ways in which you can express your gratitude? How can you make gratitude a habit in your business?


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward
Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching
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