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The Power of Gratitude at Work

As a guy who always thought of himself as somewhat of a servant leader during my career in hospitality (I guess you would have to ask my teammates if I actually was), it wasn’t really until I left the daily grind of the corporate world to form Leeds Hospitality Group that I started to practice gratitude on a regular basis. My gratitude journey started during the pandemic when I made the commitment to Thank one person a week (every Tuesday) on my LinkedIn page that had helped me during my career – 52 weeks – over 52 people (last segment included my wife and two daughters). As I completed the 52 weeks, it was apparent that I had struck a chord with people and I then took the next big step on my gratitude journey and started the podcast, Tuesday’s Thanks. I have the opportunity to interview senior industry leaders about their journey and provide them with the platform to Thank people who have helped them along the way. The podcast led to a YouTube Channel: Tuesday’s Thanks – Take 5 where the guest takes 5 minutes to Thank one person who has made a positive impact on their life.

So, naturally I thought I was doing a great job practicing gratitude but then I had the good fortune to meet Kevin D. Monroe and Star Dargin. These two amazing people have been preaching and teaching the Power of Gratitude at Work for so many years that I felt like a rookie when talking with them. Both are accomplished practitioners in their respective fields, and they have served as a catalyst for me to continue my gratitude journey. Their dedication and passion for leading with gratitude drove me to revisit my time as a senior leader and now I am looking forward to help others to learn how to make the Power of Gratitude at Work help them and their teams add to their successes. I only wish that I had been in tune with how gratitude can amplify business results when I was leading teams. Numerous studies have shown that when a company’s culture is steeped in recognition and gratitude, productivity increases, profitability rises, employee retention and satisfaction is high, and the company becomes an employer of choice. Now, this culture of recognition and gratitude has to be authentic, and it must be driven from the CEO and senior leadership.

As with all successful initiatives in business, cultivating a culture of recognition and gratitude requires a well thought out approach, a dedicated budget and an internal communications plan to ensure that the entire organization is aware of and understand the program.

Plan Development – The planning cannot take place in a vacuum of a couple senior leaders, it must include a sampling from different disciplines, different levels of employees and include a variety of job types. (WFH, Hybrid, Satellite Offices etc.) As this is a company wide program, you should all agree on what the Goals of the plan are (many ways to measure this: employee satisfaction scores, retention rates etc.) and there must be some way to measure the results of the plan. Profitability of any company is of the utmost importance so establishing a line-item budget for a recognition and gratitude program will be key to sustaining the momentum of the plan as the year progresses – this is where the CEO and CFO need to be aligned as to the direct costs to the company as well as the beneficial costs (reduced turnover, decreased recruiting costs etc.) so that the teams can be accountable.

Once the Plan has been developed, agreed upon and approved by senior leadership, the next big hurdle is how to communicate the plan internally. This will involve a couple of steps: the initial rollout of the program and then the daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly communication of progress to the goal in addition to “Recognition & Gratitude” updates and notices. Again, this takes time, money and human capital – be sure to account for all of this during the planning process.

It is important to make sure you don’t bite off more than your organization can digest. These programs can start small with simple daily acts of gratitude to the development of a full blown and automated recognition program with apps that you can subscribe to.

Make no mistake about it, this undertaking is time consuming and while I believe it is integral to the success of any organization you may not have the ability to assign a full-time resource and/or not want to take away from someone’s day job to lead this charge. Bringing on an outside entity to lead the development of the program and then keep the wheels in motion is probably a very wise use of funds and time.

Here is a sampling of daily gratitude habits that can be incorporated into your daily routine that take little or no time to plan: When you have a one-on-one meeting with your employee, start the session with an expression of gratitude – thank the employee for something they have accomplished recently. Schedule time on your calendar to call a client or one of your suppliers to Thank them for working together – who doesn’t like to get a call like that. When you start a team meeting, start it off with an expression of gratitude to one of the members of the team for their contribution to the project – be sure to personalize the message. These are examples of simple acts of gratitude that takes very little time and costs nothing to do yet they will start you on a path of building a culture of gratitude and recognition that your teams will see, your teams will emulate and, in the end, increase your team’s productivity and happiness.

There is no doubt that once your employees see you leading with gratitude that they too will adopt the culture – believe me, it is contagious. There is a reason that we refer to it as “practicing acts of gratitude” – it’s just like a muscle that needs strengthening – the more you practice the better you become. I think you will be impressed with the Power of Gratitude at Work.


Brian Proctor is the CEO and Founder of Leeds Hospitality Group, LLC and the Host of the Gratitude Centered podcast, Tuesday’s Thanks where he interviews Senior Corporate Leaders about their journey and provides them a platform to Thank those who have helped them along the way.

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