As we approach the holiday season, the air is filled not only with the scent of pumpkin spice but also with discussions about the transformative power of gratitude. However, gratitude is more than just a seasonal trend or a box to check off during Thanksgiving; it’s a powerful force that can significantly impact our personal and professional lives.
In the realm of the workplace, expressing gratitude becomes a cornerstone for fostering a positive and collaborative environment. When team members feel acknowledged and valued, it goes beyond mere pleasantries — it creates a sense of camaraderie, enhances mutual respect, and establishes stronger interpersonal connections. These elements, in turn, become the bedrock for improved morale, heightened motivation, and an overall sense of job satisfaction. The ripple effect? Increased productivity and a higher quality of work.
Having recently concluded a three-day workshop, I decided to inject an unexpected and enjoyable activity into the mix. An activity designed to provide team members with a tangible way to express their gratitude for the remarkable contributions they had witnessed. Enter: The Gratitude Poncho!
Here’s the materials you will need:
- Flipchart paper
And the step by step instructions:
- Pass out the flip chart paper, one piece per person.
- Demonstrate the following folds and have the participants follow you –
- Fold the large flip chart sheet in half.
- Then fold it again the other way so you have a nice square.
- Rip or cut the corner of the folded flipchart paper, big enough to create a hole for a head.
- When you open your sheet the hole is near the middle.
- Suit Up! Have participants put on their ponchos!
- Take a minute to laugh – it might look funny to have everyone wearing a paper poncho!
- Invite everyone to grab a marker and write anonymously something they are grateful for on their teammate’s back – something the writer appreciates.
- Here is an example to share: “I really appreciate the way Sally always has a positive thing to say”
- Have them “train up” to write on each other’s backs.
- When everyone is done, send participants back to their seats and have them wait to take their ponchos at the same time.
- Ask everyone to take 2 minutes to quietly read what everyone wrote.
- Enjoy the glow! Invite anyone who would like to share something they read that was impactful.
Embracing gratitude within a team is akin to sowing seeds of positivity that flourish into a garden of collaboration and shared success. Witnessing a team express and revel in the appreciation of each other’s strengths and efforts is nothing short of magical.
The act of gratitude isn’t merely a feel-good exercise; it sets the stage for a workplace culture where recognizing and valuing contributions becomes second nature. This positive feedback loop becomes the lifeblood of sustained individual effort and tight-knit team cohesion. Gratitude, as a practice, becomes a powerful mediator in conflict resolution and serves as a catalyst for fostering a shared sense of purpose among team members. Ultimately, the ongoing practice of gratitude and expressed appreciation becomes an indispensable ingredient in the recipe for the overall success and well-being of the team.
Now, it’s your team’s turn to experience the transformative power of gratitude. Consider incorporating the Gratitude Poncho into your next team meeting, workshop, or retreat. Whether your team is well-acquainted or newly formed, this activity serves as a great icebreaker, a post-lunch energizer, or a memorable conclusion to a meaningful retreat.
Ready to cultivate a culture of gratitude within your team? Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s embark on this journey of fostering appreciation and collaboration together. Your team’s positive transformation awaits!