Executive Coaching Articles

Tips on Slowing Down, Appreciating Colleagues and Being Grateful

Thanksgiving gets only one day a year, officially. But our life and work would be improved dramatically if we made every day a Thanksgiving Day.

Research by Robert Emmons and his colleagues at the University of California at Davis has shown that a regular practice of gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and emotional health. Rather than focusing on illness and emotional problems, they recommend emphasizing health-promoting behavior and the pleasurable parts of life.*

So how do we apply that philosophy in the workplace? In our continual rush to get things done, we sometimes overlook the most important aspects of our lives, including our relationships with others.

This article focuses on slowing down, appreciating our colleagues, and making room for trust. I encourage you to take time this week to give thanks, nurture your most important relationships and reap the benefits of a richer and more rewarding life. Here are four ways you can begin to do that now.

  1. Show appreciation to a co-worker Think of a co-worker (boss, manager, employee, mentor, co-worker) and schedule a meeting specifically to express the appreciation you have for him or her.
  2. Slow down Slow down and enjoy the work you are doing right now. Don’t rush just to finish the work, but enjoy the process so the journey of work becomes a wonderful experience.
  3. Be grateful for 8 minutes Spend only 8 minutes of your day increasing your awareness of the gratefulness you have at work. You can do this exercise in the morning before your day begins, at lunch, or at the end of your day.
  4. Never say “I.” Instead, say only “we.” Peter Drucker says, “The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we” — they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”

Developing the gratitude habit, like any habit, takes time to develop. The easiest way to get started is to write down five things every day that you’re grateful for. You can do this on a computer file at work, in a journal you keep at home, or anywhere that makes it convenient and easy to remember. Once you’ve got the habit, it will be easier to share your “attitude of gratitude” with coworkers, family, and friends. Your body and your spirit will thank you in return.

*Reference: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)