Ellie Walburg, Cornerstone University | March 20, 2018
Since we were kids, we’ve been learning and deepening our understanding of virtues and how they should be incorporated into our day-to-day life. We just may not have realized it at the time.
In grade school, you learned important life skills like how to share and that it’s not nice to put gum in your sister’s hair.
In middle school and high school, your understanding of virtues became more complex. This knowledge came through experiences like learning to not cheat off your neighbor’s paper, serving your parents by voluntarily taking out the trash or holding your tongue before saying a sarcastic remark.
Perhaps you’re teaching your own kids these skills now.
Virtues, such as gratitude, faith, wisdom, hospitality and self-discipline, may often come across as abstract concepts. There’s not a course with the objective of how to develop self-discipline or gratitude and apply it to your life.
However, embodying these essential virtues is more practical than you may think when it comes to being prepared and equipped to be successful in the workplace.
Here, we’ll look at what it looks like to have a virtue-based foundation, why it’s important to have that influence and share what the virtue of gratitude can look like in your workplace.
WHAT IS A VIRTUE-BASED FOUNDATION?
When you learn in an environment that focuses on virtues rather than just gathering field-related information, you learn differently.
Yes, you learn the skills and develop the knowledge to be successful and experienced in business, leadership, management, psychology or whatever your area of interest. But you learn them in the broader context of what it means to contribute to something beyond yourself. When you learn in the framework of virtues, you keep your community in mind.
Take the field of business administration, for example. When you learn about best practices in finance, you learn to save your organization money. But you should also look out for ways to contribute to and be an active member of your community.
WHY IS APPLYING VIRTUES IMPORTANT?
Sure, people tend to like others who are more loving, hospitable and generous than those who are not. But there are additional benefits to infusing virtues into the workplace.
According to research done by Amy Y. Ou and her colleagues, the practice of virtues leads to greater success. Ou and her colleagues looked at the virtue of humility when it came to the performance of a CEO. Their research revealed that when a humble CEO leads a firm, its managers and supervisors are more likely to collaborate, share information, jointly make decisions and follow a shared vision.
The more humble a leader, the more likely they are to contribute to a stronger organizational performance.
Learning in an environment that has a foundation of virtues strengthens more than just your knowledge of facts, theories and research. It heightens your desire and passion to see your community thrive. You are not solely focused on your success and benefit, but you’re also looking out for the good of your co-workers, supervisors and subordinates. Virtues allow you to set your goals with your community in mind.
EXAMPLE: WHAT DOES GRATITUDE LOOK LIKE IN THE WORKPLACE?
Each virtue brings a unique benefit to the workplace. Wisdom can help you navigate decision-making. Hope helps you keep the big picture in mind. Faith teaches you where to set your priorities.
Gratitude is a virtue that can also have big implications in your workplace.
According to an article from Fast Company, embracing the virtue of gratitude brings several benefits to the workplace. Such contributions to success include strengthening teams, motivating employees and improving corporate culture.
Living out gratitude in your work environment enhances both you and your co-workers’ experiences. Initiatives like recognition programs reduce employee turnover, according to a 2015 study noted by GetHppy. When people feel appreciated, they invest in the organization and want to stick around.
Gratitude, whether you give it or receive it, can be largely influential in both your organizational and personal success.
Weave virtues into your education
While we may often think of virtues as being abstract, they provide a strong foundation to elevate and enhance your company culture and relationships.
When you begin to think in a way that highlights virtues, you work for something larger than yourself. Regardless of your position or rank, you can learn to embody virtues to contribute to a thriving workplace environment.
Programs at Cornerstone University are rooted in a Christ-centered foundation that weaves its way throughout the educational journey. With this unique approach, we believe you don’t have to choose between your faith and career but can bring them together in a positive way.
Ellie Walburg (B.S.’17, M.B.A.’20) serves as the admissions communications coordinator for Cornerstone University’s Professional & Graduate Studies division.
This article was previously published here.