On Thanksgiving and every day, here's how to lead with gratitude even in a crisis like COVID
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In the midst of the global financial crisis of 2008, WD-40 Company chief executive officer Garry Ridge made a commitment: He would daily find ways to express gratitude to his employees—and he’d teach his managers to do the same.
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Leaders were guided to pay attention to performance that exceeded expectations and also to look for the most fundamental contributions.
The result: By 2010, the company reported its best financials in its fifty-seven-year history (all of which equates to millions fewer squeaky door hinges and an equal number of happy teenagers sneaking back in after curfew).
CEO Ridge says, “Gratitude creates feelings of belonging. You and I have left an organization, even a relationship because we didn’t feel like we belonged. If our people know we are grateful, we are going to create an organization where they really want to come and give their best.”
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What leaders at this company discovered is expressions of gratitude for employees’ efforts can be a huge motivation and productivity booster during the worst of times.
And yet while practicing gratitude on Thanksgiving and this season might seem easy, it is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied tools of management.
We have devoted decades to coaching executives around the world to be more effective; and helping them learn the skill of leading with gratitude has been central. With research partners, we have also surveyed more than 1 million working adults.