If you find yourself constantly chasing the next problem, always looking for cracks in the building of your business — look up. Notice all the great people who helped you build that business and show some gratitude. We mean it; gratitude practices are life-changing for your business. Appreciation for leadership skills are an essential tool for business owners. Creating a culture of appreciate for leadership skills development is essential to not only your company culture, but the development of your staff as well.
This includes your employees and your customers. Both groups are essential to the success of growing a business, and saying thanks to the people who make it possible goes a long way.
Here’s how gratitude practices ultimately translate to increased success with your customers and make you a better leader.
Appreciation Breeds Success
Once upon a time, there was a failing restaurant business, one with a team bringing in minimal profit and about to lose their jobs. This is a true story, by the way, from business problem-solving specialist Dr. Justin Wood, Th.D. He’s the one who saved them.
Upon taking over this failing business, the first protocol Dr. Wood initiated was — you guessed it — gratitude practices. He coached the team to appreciate every customer who came through the door, something as simple as “thank you for coming in” or checking up on them at their table throughout their meal.
After the first month of giving thanks, the restaurant doubled the number of receipts from the month before. Three months later, they were setting records they had not seen in the past.
Showing your customers gratitude tells them you, as a business owner, recognize their role in your success.
There’s No ‘I’ In Team
In the last example, it took an entire team to turn a failing business around. Your employees are essential to your success, and how well they perform impacts profit. So, how can gratitude improve dropping productivity rates amongst your staff?
Founder CEO of AIM Leadership, Camile Preston, explains how she uses gratitude to lift her employees back up when their productivity falls.
When Preston notices that her team is a few steps behind her, instead of striding alongside her, she takes a moment to pull back. For many business owners, the first step might be to send an email asking where that missed report was or why they haven’t reached out to so-and-so clients. Camile Preston takes the opposite approach; she reaches out to her struggling employees and lets them know how thankful she is for their work.
While this may sound counter-intuitive, it actually results in higher-quality work, engagement, and lower turnover rates. When your employees fall behind, try saying: “I value your work, so if you need any help or support, please let me know.”
How To Cultivate Appreciation for Leadership Skill Development
Start with incorporating gratitude practices into your meetings. After you finish up your regularly scheduled programming, ask your staff to write down 3 things they’re grateful for at work. They can share these in the meeting, or you can read them at other meetings throughout the coming month. This way, when employees come together to discuss business, it always ends positively.
To express gratitude to your customers, we suggest thank-you letters. It seems dated, but studies from psychologist Martin Seligman show it works. Send a thank-you card when you make a sale. This should be personalized with the customer’s name and a message to express precisely why you’re thankful.
We get it — you might not be able to send cards to every customer. If you can’t, write a letter to send to all customers and change the name on each letter to make it more personalized. You want buyers to know how much you appreciate their patronage.
Incorporating gratitude practices into your business is easy — it may be awkward initially, but the returns you’ll see from your employees and customers will change your life.