Project Management

Can gratitude make us better project managers?

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To me gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and being thankful for something beyond myself.

IDEA#1 - POSITIVITY AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT:  When we are grateful and show gratitude to others, we approach our work through a more positive lens.  This lens helps us see and appreciate the good in others.  Gratitude is a great mindset to cultivate because when we come from a place of positivity, good things are more likely to happen.  Bringing gratitude to projects improves the overall “team spirit”.  Many years ago I read a book called “The Carrot Principle” by Adrian Gostrick and Chester Elton.  In the book, they described research indicating employees need to feel appreciated and valued – and when polled, employees stated they would rather receive appreciation for their work than receive higher pay.  When employees feel appreciated, they try harder and performance improves.  By simply showing genuine gratitude for the work your team is doing, it stands to reason project outcomes will improve and you will be seen as a more successful project manager.  TAKE AWAY – Take time to share honest feedback with your team about what you are grateful for about them and their contributions.

IDEA #2 - A STRONGER PROJECT MANAGER:  Living with a mindset of gratitude creates changes in our mind AND in our body.  We physically and mentally become less stressed when focused on gratitude.  Scientists say when living with a sense of gratitude we become stronger and more resilient. Wendy Berry Medes, a Social and Biological Psychologist from the Greater Good Science Center, has studied this for years – researching how gratitude impacts health and longevity.  She can scientifically prove via lab work, sleep studies, etc. that gratitude has a positive impact on both health and aging.  People with higher levels of gratitude even have healthier cells at the microscopic level.  Studies show people cherishing gratitude are more likely to have stronger social connections, are less likely to be angry, sleep quality tends to improve and gratitude has been proven to lower both resting blood pressure and cholesterol levels!  TAKE AWAY – Living with gratitude can make you a stronger project manager both physically and mentally.

IDEA #3 - SOCIAL CONNECTIONS:  Having a sense of gratitude can improve your daily experiences at work with stakeholders, teams, vendors and others we come into contact with.  Improved social connections can only positively impact our projects.  Gratitude experts like Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, states gratitude has “the power to heal, energize and change lives”.  Others share fear and anger cannot live in the presence of gratefulness – if that is the case, then gratitude can help us move teams through change management easier or face difficulties with more resilience.  Why don’t we talk more about this when training project managers?  It only makes sense that gratitude can improve our effectiveness as project managers.  Grateful individuals are more forgiving, outgoing, helpful, generous and charitable.  TAKE AWAY – Use the sense of gratitude in your social connections to improve your social connections!

CHALLENGE:  So, this November – a month where Thanksgiving will be celebrated in many homes, would you consider joining me in a renewed focus on gratitude? No matter what our situation is, there are things and people around us we can be grateful for.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on gratitude and your experience with gratitude in your important role as a project manager!

Posted on: October 30, 2019 03:54 PM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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Positive thoughts and appreciation lead to positive outcomes - thanks for reminding us all of these important principles, Lori!

I definitely agree with your points and principles Lori - Positive vibes leads to Positive Thinking which leads to Positive Results.

Dear Lori
Very interesting your reflection
Thanks for sharing
Positive Environments Where Gratitude Reigns Usually Leads to Positive Results

Very interesting., thanks for sharing

Thanks Lori for this very positive article. I believe positivity and gratitude can help us overcome any challenge

Thanks for the challenge. I will try to focus on Gratitude throughout November

Hi Lori - it is so true; the value of gratitude. Certainly, we can be challenged to keep our gratitude at the forefront while we struggle with day-to-day items. For me, I regularly remind myself of the journey to get to where I am today and what that has meant for my family.

I thought about quoting some of Daniel Goldman's work on this topic but decided you made a good point without needing any additional references. Nice job!

Gratitude is always reciprocated in terms of services in project management. Well written

Hi Lori,

Well written, good documented.

I have one question,

If manager is not expressed any gratitude or not given any appreciation any of the team member. What does it mean?


Thank you for the comments about positivity and gratitude - so important for us to bring these approaches to project management!

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