4 Reasons Gratitude Matters at Work

“You’re all expendable!”

That was the short and inspiring speech I heard from a bandleader years ago. As you can imagine, my colleagues and I in the band felt highly valued and ready to wow the next crowd.

But in a sense, he was right.

In his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John C. Maxwell says “…the only way to make yourself indispensable is to make yourself dispensable. In other words, if you are able to continually empower others and help them develop so that they become capable of taking over your job, you will become so valuable to the organization that you become indispensable” (p. 126-127)

It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

photo credit: Avard Woolaver via photopin cc

We should all empower others around us to take over our jobs. We should create an environment in which our absence wouldn’t destroy a team or a company. This is particularly true in radio, as most programs are comprised of complicated teams.

But applied poorly, this principle can obviously lead to a very unhealthy work environment. So what’s the secret to implementing this concept appropriately?


Gratitude is the key to success in creating a team of people who are happily dispensable. Why? Here are 4 reasons:

  • Gratitude fosters security. There’s nothing worse than constantly being worried about losing your job. Or upsetting your boss. Ultimately, insecurity leads to people making cautious and safe decisions. This is hardly the formula for growth and success. The most effective antidote for insecurity is words of gratitude. 

  • Gratitude breeds loyalty. Most leaders desire loyalty. Most teams also want loyalty. Why? Because loyalty creates a sense of personal investment and ownership. That sense of ownership will likely translate into a more satisfied and dedicated individual. Over time, consistent words of gratitude will deepen the loyalty within a team.

  • Gratitude inspires confidence. How do you know you’re doing a good job? Hints don’t work well. Indirect feedback creates ambiguity and uncertainty. Gratitude is one the surest ways to let someone know they’re doing well. Whether it’s a small task or a major project, direct words of gratitude and encouragement give people confidence in their performance. It lets them know they’re headed in the right direction. The resulting confidence will make them better employees. 

  • Gratitude creates resilience. No matter what, every team and organization will experience setbacks. Mistakes are inevitable. When bad things happen within an unhealthy work environment, more problems will be just around the corner. But a person that regularly receives direct verbal expressions of gratitude will be able to quickly bounce back from errors and adversity. Their internal sense of value within the organization will inspire them to withstand whatever difficulties come their way.

Without a doubt, gratitude is a powerful weapon for good in the workplace. Apply it liberally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *