There are two powerful gifts you can give to others. The gift and the quality of your attention, which means you are listening, and the gift of gratitude. Acknowledging others and expressing gratitude demonstrates deep caring. We are listening with our hearts and sharing from our hearts.

A study, Predicting Job Satisfaction: Contributions of Individual Gratitude and Institutionalized Gratitude, conducted at the University of Melbourne by researcher Lea Waters, examined the role, employee perceptions of dispositional gratitude, state gratitude (gratitude happens because of help someone received). State gratitude is the appreciation given as a result of receiving help and support and institutionalized gratitude (gratitude happens as a result of policies, procedures, and institutional values).

The study was looking at how dispositional, state and institutional gratitude impacted job satisfaction.

The research showed that state gratitude and institutional gratitude uniquely predicts job satisfaction. The implications suggest that workplaces aiming to increase job satisfaction achieve this through organizationally-based gratitude interventions and institutionalizing gratitude into workplace culture. Additionally, this study showed some causal linkages between institutionalized gratitude and employee well-being.

Research shows that well-being is influenced by a stable disposition towards gratitude and state gratitude that can be triggered/heightened through a gratitude intervention. Researchers argue that there is virtually no hard evidence regarding gratitude’s impact on organizations. However, this study proved otherwise.

As part of our REAL Cultural process, we measure impacts of leader behaviors and how leadership impacts cultural effectiveness and bottom-line results. We’ve been working with a large organization. Results of a pulse survey, we noticed that caring went down by about 3.5%.

We asked questions such as:

  1. Do employees feel valued as part of this organization?
  2. Does leadership focus on the greater good?

We did our baseline assessment in January 2020 before COVID hit, and we did a pulse assessment in July as COVID is re-emerging. While a 3.5% drop is not significant, what was significant was the employee voice and employee sentiment.

The 3.5% drop in caring is impacting the bottom-line. People are leaving, and it is harder to find skilled workers for replacement.

First: Recognize others. Remember, as a leader, you don’t accomplish anything without the help of others.

Second: Reinforce gratitude. Create and reinforce gratitude through corporate policies and practices. There is nothing wrong with institutionalized gratitude and making the expression of gratitude a goal. Generate excitement and recognize, reward, and thank people for the impact they are having.

Third: Express thanks. Here is what you can do: share gratitude, express sincere thanks, catch people doing things right instead of feedback for what is wrong. When you catch people doing things right they will do more right things.

Fourth: Thank yourself. Give yourself thanks. You probably don’t give yourself enough credit for everything you do. Give yourself positive reinforcement for the time, effort, and energy you provide to others.

Today, take a moment and express your thanks to someone. Go out of your way to let someone know that what they did was meaningful and important to you. If you do, both your hearts will smile.


M. Wood A. (2014) Gratitude. In: Michalos A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht.

L Waters. (2012) Predicting Job Satisfaction: Contributions of Individual Gratitude and Institutionalized Gratitude. Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.