The Art of Being Grateful and Thankful as a 21st Century Leader
Think about the people you are most drawn to in your life. Whether in personal or professional relationships, who are the people you find yourself wanting to talk to; to be around? It’s likely the people who offer you some form of praise or acknowledgement. The givers. The seers!
Now think about a time that you, as a leader, gave someone on your team, or in your office, praise and acknowledgement? How did it make you feel? How did it make them feel? Everyone probably felt great!
Gratitude is infectious, it’s celebratory and in general, everyone loves it. Gratitude helps build or repair relationships. It draws people in and encourages them to engage and encourage others in return.
That’s why, as a leader of a business or organization, even if you have a small team, it’s incredibly important to set the example and show your gratitude.
“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop
Here are some simple ways to practice gratitude as a leader and show your team the grace and power of being grateful and thankful.
1. Reflect on Your Day
Find time each day to think about being grateful. Who are the people who inspired you, what did you see that made you smile? Write these down, or think about them individually. Over time, it will be so easy to find many simple things that you recognize and even help give you perspective on days that are more challenging.
2. Compliment and Recognize
Compliments don’t need to be given for only big achievements. They can be given for both big and small accomplishments, or just to make someone feel good. Like recognizing a positive attitude, appreciating someone’s sense of humor, or acknowledging the person who cleaned out the break-room fridge.
3. Be Authentic
When offering compliments, be sure you are being authentic! If practicing gratitude, or offering praise is not something you typically do, be sure to be sincere and authentic in your delivery. While people like compliments, they don’t like them if they seem phony or forced.
4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Sometimes an act of gratitude isn’t done with words. You can give a small gift to an employee, arrive to a meeting on time, or bring donuts to the office. These actions show people that you recognize what they’re doing for you and you want to show sincere thanks.
5. Lead by Example
You are the leader. You are the person the team is looking to set the stage, how to engage. If you’re involved and you’re present and you’re grateful, it is felt by everyone! You’re there to inspire! This will have tremendous impact on creating and maintaining a positive culture.
Whatever ways you adopt to practice and encourage gratitude, rest assured that they will be effective. At the end of the day, we are all human and we thrive on praise. Employees will move mountains for the leaders that make them feel appreciated and encouraged. So, let’s dish out a piece of humble pie this Thanksgiving season and pile on the praise like whipped cream!