I hope this makes sense. I rushed to get this in.
Sorry to be the barer of bad news but, gratefulness cannot be inspired. Instead, it results from becoming aware of how hard it is to succeed. That way, when others help you, you are grateful for their time, energy and effort.
For example, a child born into a family where they are well taken care of and every need is met rarely struggles; so, they tend to be less likely to exhibit gratefulness at an early age. However, perhaps when they get older and have children of their own, that's when they tend to appreciate how hard their parents worked to provide for them and will intern exhibit gratefulness.
Even Bill Gates said that success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
Yet, a child is born into poverty and struggles for every thing they get tends to be grateful for everything they get early on. Please keep in mind that there are many exceptions to the rules and these are generalizations.
Now, where all of this breaks down in the workplace is, some people think that because they are paying for someone's time energy and effort, they can treat them however they want. Unfortunately, that is a huge mistake.
Embedded inside of every human being's brain is a processor that governs all human interactions. For example, when you step on a nail the pain you feel isn't coming from the nail, it's coming from your own brain because, the rules know that a nail in your foot damages your chance of survival. So, using similar predefined information, that same processor also governs all our interactions and determines their success or failure and the consequences of either outcome.
What does that mean?
In order for people to get along well and work well together, they have to be nice to each other. On the surface that seems like a no-brainer however, if you take a look at how that processor works, it's not that simple.
As we get older and gain more experience we expect certain levels of performance from others but, that expectation may or may not be realistic. Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not our expectations are realistic or not, when our expectations are not met it triggers the release of stress into our mind and body (cortisol).
Now, at first this release of stress is no big deal because it's only a small amount which is used to motivate us to notice and to want to fix our problems. However, there's a catch and several caveats to fixing our problems.
Buried inside of that processor is this rule: In order to be successful with people, we must be able to communicate successfully with them.
The problem with that is, we don't always communicate successfully and when we don't, we have to fix it. However, this is what throws most people for a loop and causes confusion...fixing it is not a choice, it's an ultimatum; fix it or you cannot succeed.
How do I know that? How can we know that?
Every time you attempt to fix a problem and fail, it escalates our stress levels like the countdown on a ticking time bomb automatically (read, beyond our control): 5,4,3,2,1...until we explode. BOOM!
And, each time our stress levels escalate it forces us to become slightly more aggressive so we will fix the problem.
That's a problem because as we get into the higher levels of stress, our motivations automatically shift away from wanting to solve our problems by reason to wanting to solve them by force.
For example, if you have ever been in a meeting and had to repeat yourself a couple of times and then had to rephrase what you said a couple of times and it still didn't work, even the most resilient person you know could end up wanting to scream, "You're not listening!"
That's a problem because, more than likely the person you are working with is not expecting to be blamed for your inability to fix the break down in communication.
So, when you aggressively blame them for something that's not their fault, that's going to trigger their stress escalation process and just like that, you're going to be arguing with the very person you are trying to help.
Unfortunately, this behavior gets justified because of money but, it is counterproductive and it's not what people want because, it gets the worst out of people and in order to succeed long term, we need and want to get the best out of them.
Fortunately, to prevent breakdowns in communication from escalating into arguments no one wants or expects, there is a simple solution.
1. Communication doesn't break down because listening.
2. It breaks down because of differences in understanding.
- For example, if I were to ask you what's the first thing that pops into your head when I say, "Soccer."
- Well, if we ask 100 different people the same question, we could possibly get 100 different answers
- That means that when communication is breaking down, it's not breaking down because they're not listening, it's breaking down because the words you are using mean something different to them than what you expect. Therefore, if they respond to you in a way that you don't expect, it's because they are understanding what you are saying in a way that you did not intend...they're not understanding you.
3. The solution:
- When someone responds to you in a way that you don't expect, the first thing you have to do is defuse yourself.
- You do that by telling yourself that they are understanding something different and that's perfectly fine, normal and natural; in fact, it's to be expected.
- Next, you have to interrupt the flow of conversation politely and share with them what reaction you thought you would see.
- Then, explain, when you said X, you were expecting to see Y and it's fine that you're not seeing it, but if you wouldn't mind, could you help me out.
- Why am I not seeing it? Can you complete the picture for me? I'm asking because I want to make sure I'm not missing something.
- Taking that step ensures that you don't extend blame to them and keeps them from becoming defensive.
4. When they respond, pay close attention because, you will learn things about what they are understanding from your words and I promise, more than likely it will be something that you would have never expected.
5. If it turns out that you were missing something, then let them know that you get it now and move on.
6. However, if it turns out that they are missing something, you're going to have to take one more step.
7. What ever it is that they are missing, don't tell them they are missing it because, no one likes to be told what they are missing (you can test it but be prepared to be unsuccessful). Then, take what ever their feedback make you want to say and turn it into a question.
8. Why? Because that's how people learn what you need them to know and when you take this extra step, it's also what will trigger a sense of gratefulness and appreciation in them for you. It works because taking that step makes them feel like you are a good person because, you took the time to get to know them and what they were thinking first.
Of course there's more to it, but that's how you can begin to create a culture of gratitude where ever you work.
Also, based on human nature, it would seem to make sense to have more apprenticeships, mentorships, programs where people can step in and lead...learn what it takes to lead because without it, it's almost impossible to have gratitude.
I have done extensive research on this and have provided trainings that have been 100% effective and can be validated by anyone.
My website is www.winning.works and I host a podcast and have written articles that can be accessed there.
Thank you for the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.