seattle seahawks win gratitudeYour job probably doesn’t involve scoring touchdowns or managing a football team, but we can all draw lessons about workplace gratitude from the Seahawks’ historic win Sunday in the Super Bowl.
On Wednesday, three days after the Seattle Seahawks walked victorious off the field at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the team threw a thank-you party for its fans back home. An estimated 700,000 people turned out in Seattle to cheer their team during the parade Wednesday, “wearing blue and green wigs, waving flags, scarves and signs, and breaking out into song and dance,” a Seattle Post Intelligencer reporter wrote. Many of the fans had camped out overnight or skipped work or school to see their favorite players.
It was a moment of deep gratitude for the players, too. Running back Marshawn Lynch stood on the hood of a vehicle in the parade, tossing Skittles — his favorite treat — into the crowd. Other Seahawks players threw jerseys and T-shirts to fans while waving blue flags as a sign of gratitude.
Even in the minutes after the game, players were quick to use the language of gratitude. Linebacker Malcolm Smith described being “fortunate” to pick a high-flying ball in a game-changing play. He attributed the win to a group effort: “It was just excellent teamwork.”
Interestingly, the Seattle Seahawks may be conditioned to show gratitude and be more mindful than some of their NFL peers. An ESPN story last August exposed the “kinder, gentler philosophy” behind the team’s management. Players, for instance, are invited to practice yoga and meditation as part of their daily workouts and athletic conditioning.
“No one is required to be here,” reported ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk, “yet about 20 players show up at various times every week to breathe in, breathe out and open their minds. The entire roster also participates in yoga class, which players enjoyed so much last year as an optional activity that the staff decided to make it a mandated part of player workouts this year.”
The idea guiding these practices is that happy players make for better players. Everyone in the Seahawks’ facility, from coaches to valets, is expected to follow mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions.
“Yelling and swearing are frowned upon, and every media interview with a player or coach ends with a thank-you to the reporter,” Roenigk wrote.
This attitude — along the team’s hard work and good luck — appears to have paid off with the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win. It also breaks free from the traditionally held idea that athletic dominance follows an insult-hurling coach. “When the Seahawks beat the Broncos in dominating fashion, the image of the browbeating dictatorial coach took a wallop. In its place, meditation might become the new black,” wrote Lynn Zinser in the New York Times.
So what does this mean for workplace gratitude in your organization?
Forbes calls gratitude “your most powerful forgotten weapon” and exults the virtues of practicing it daily, especially in a business setting — and not just when tradition calls for it, like during the holidays.
Forbes has three quick suggestions for making workplace gratitude part of your daily routine.
1) Take time every morning to list the things or people you’re grateful for. This practice will help cultivate gratitude as a habit.
2) Personalize gratitude. Express your gratitude individually, whether you do it privately one-on-one or publicly in front of a group or on social media. The extra effort of singling out an employee will be appreciated.
3) Listen. Opening yourself up to feedback is probably the hardest aspect of gratitude. Showing gratitude isn’t a one-way street or lip service. To give it meaning, listen to how your appreciation is received and be mindful of ways you or your organization as a whole can improve.
Maybe millions of fans aren’t watching and billions of dollars aren’t at stake, but gratitude is still a vital aspect of successful work cultures. And not just because it’s the “nice” thing to do. Like the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, gratitude is good for business, too.
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