Can You be Too Thankful?


There has been a steady stream of research on the benefits of being thankful and having gratitude. As a leader, being grateful can increase the productivity of your team and provide for an improved cohesiveness based on positive appreciation. Is it possible that this gratitude can be too affirmative and actually be a team detriment?

Positivity among your team is an absolute must to offer up motivation and rewards. There are three things that are not good that a positive and thankful environment will also get you:

1. Your team will do good while not avoiding bad.

As the team will not receive criticisms in an always thankful and positive environment, there are going to be good things that your team does that will become great and there will be less than ideal traits of your team that will persist, unaddressed. A balance of gratitude and criticisms can even out the development of each team member.

2. Your team will feel less trusting.

Your team, not hearing any criticisms at all, will find themselves wondering if they are being lied to. They will acknowledge internal to themselves that they cannot be perfect and when criticisms are not presented, they will begin to have trust issues with the always positive and thankful supervisor. It’s best not to avoid the difficult conversations that criticisms may evoke.

3. Your team will be less productive over time.

As a result of not receiving criticism and having positive comments about work output consistently presented, your team will initially prove more productive. That additional productivity will eventually drop-off if the comments are always positive and thankful. This ties directly into human nature, your team members will work as hard as they need to in order to succeed. if they are always successful, why work harder? For a different approach, try discussing areas to improve as opposed to criticisms.

Keeping the balance – as suggested in the first example – between criticisms and outright praise, will help to balance the entire team – their productivity, their development and their motivation.  Focusing too much on either side of the coin will not provide us with a winning team for long.

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