As Thanksgiving approaches here in the U.S., my mind continues to focus on the words of gratitude that so many have shared this month, both within and outside of TTEC. (TTEC employees: Remember to visit the Mosaic Gratitude Page). I also recognize that it is sometimes difficult to keep momentum as we all have personal obligations, everyday stressors as well as year-end goals and deliverables to meet.
You are not alone. Personally, I have recently struggled to keep up with my own gratitude last week as my children returned to in-home learning. I felt like I couldn’t even take two minutes to slow down and reflect on the good. It was much easier for me to spend that time stressing out! As the day wound down, my husband came upstairs to tell me I needed to come immediately. I could not imagine what urgent problem had occurred – and of course, my first assumption was that there was, indeed, a problem.
To my surprise, it wasn’t a problem at all. As soon as I could muddle through "just a few more things," I finally turned my attention to this supposed "problem," that was happening at the makeshift virtual school, based out of my kitchen/den/whereever it is. My son’s kindergarten class had just wrapped up their first day of at-home learning (gasp) by recording video messages of gratitude for their classmates. One of my son’s best friends – someone who he decidedly would like to marry – said in her video, "I am grateful for school, and I am grateful for my friend Anthony who is so nice to me. I love him." Anthony was over the moon and so was I. I was completely struck by how easy it was for this little girl to be so open about her gratitude. And, seeing firsthand how this open display of gratitude impacted my son – he was so happy. It made my heart so full! This was the shot in the arm I needed to persevere on my own gratitude journey.
Along the same vein (no pun intended), I had the opportunity to speak with a few leaders who likewise had some challenges encouraging their teams to work on gratitude. Some were reluctant to make it an assignment; some didn’t want to add "another thing" to the list; while others just got dragged down by the normal day-to-day undertakings, unable to see the benefits of showing gratitude. But, never fear! The great thing about expressing gratitude with your teams, and encouraging them to do the same, is that you can start with one thank you at any time. And, if you forget for a few days, you can always start again! Remember, expressing gratitude is a practice and you know what they say about practice!
But, if it’s still a tall order, maybe reframing will help a bit. Gratitude isn’t restricted to just saying your routine thanks, but it can be shown through our actions. An interesting article in the Harvard Business Review from earlier this year speaks to some of those actions.
To make expressing gratitude a routine with your team, Bill Mushinsky, VP, Enterprise Collaboration Solutions and his team suggest the following weekly schedule:
- Monday - Find one person within your department that you work with daily to communicate your gratitude
- Tuesday - Find one person outside your group to communicate your gratitude
- Wednesday - Find one person that mentored you in the past to communicate your gratitude and what that mentorship has meant to your career
- Thursday - Maybe earn gratitude by reaching out to someone, "Is there anything I can do for you?"
- Friday - Have a simple (virtual) water cooler discussion, to chat with your teammates at a more personal level.
The point is, whatever works for you, I hope you can take a few minutes a day to take a step back and consider if gratitude could be just the tool for you and your team.
As a final note: Special thanks to Rebecca Brookson, Michelle Juel, Tracy Davis, Zack Ayers and Trixy Su and Vicki Steere for all of their help with this project.