TED Talks offer insights into leadership and workplace gratitude

Building a culture of workplace gratitude could be the best thing you ever do for your business. In fact, author and speaker Toni Powell calls gratitude at work the key to success in “Why Gratitude in the Workplace?

“Gratitude has the rather extraordinary power to change just about every aspect of life—in very surprising ways.”

When you practice workplace gratitude, you transform relationships, minimize complaints, and see satisfaction levels skyrocket. The effect is profound and long-lasting, Powell says, because gratitude rewires the brain to see and process the world differently.


  • Increases resilience.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Facilitates positive relationships.
  • Makes people happier.

Experts Weigh In

In his TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work,“ former Harvard professor Shawn Achor says happiness improves every aspect of business.

“Happy brains are 31% more productive than negative, stressed or neutral brains, and dopamine—released when we’re happy—turns on the brain’s learning centers.”

You and your employees can train your brains to look for positivity and happiness by, among other things, writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 30 days.

TED Talks: building workplace gratitude

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. One of those ideas is extolling workplace gratitude. Here are some of the best TED talks related to workplace gratitude that we’ve found. Give one or more a listen; these experts have studied the topic and give you not only concepts and scientific evidence, but hands-on ways to build a grateful culture.

Some of these videos focus on general gratitude, while others are specific to workplace gratitude, happiness and engagement. All provide useful advice about fostering gratitude and happiness—which, in the workplace, equal productivity and a better bottom line.

How Gratitude Rewires Your Brain

Psychologist and scholar Christina Costa helps us understand the brain science associated with gratitude.

Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful

Monk and interfaith scholar Brother David Steindl-Rast says everyone wants to be happy, and happiness comes from gratitude.

Remember to Say Thank You

Counselor and life coach Dr. Laura Trice reflects on the power of a thank you to deepen relationships, repair bonds, and ensure people know what they mean to you.

What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely says that what motivates us to work is making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose: not money or even joy. If you show employees your gratitude for their efforts, they’ll feel valued and motivated. But it’s all too easy to crush motivation through lack of workplace gratitude.

Make Stress Your Friend

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal cites research suggesting that stress may only be bad for you if you believe it is. She urges viewing stress as a positive and says that caring for and supporting others reduces stress and improves heart health. It’s a great reason to show appreciation and workplace gratitude.

TED Talks on Leadership

For all-around leadership enhancement, try this list of “The Best TED Talks For Leaders,” compiled by content marketer Rob Wormley.

One of the best and most effective ways to become a better leader is by learning from others who’ve come before you, he writes. These videos, The Best TED Talks For Leaders, provide inspiration, motivation, or actionable advice on being a better leader.

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