Updated: Feb 18
Began with Gratitude! Most people think of leadership when they think of character traits such as driven, focused, hard-working, and passionate. But gratitude rarely makes the list. When you hear "gratitude," it doesn't exactly sound like it comes from a leader. Graaaatiiiituuuuuddddeeee? A leadership quality like that doesn't sound sexy enough! As a result, it could have easily been eliminated from the list. LOL The Power of Gratitude One's leadership can be revolutionized by gratitude since it is such a powerful behavior. Gratitude elicits a response, and that response is invariably positive. A leader who shows gratitude to his or her employees earns their respect. Thankfulness produces other good behaviors in employees. It is a sign of respect for a leader to intentionally thank their employees. Gratitude is a virtue, so we tend to respect those who exhibit it. Employees appreciate leaders who thank them. Since gratitude cannot be faked, it is one of the emotions that evokes the most trust. Think about a situation where your boss says, "I really appreciate the work you put into that report.". It was the most detailed report I've seen this month, and it provided me with the perfect information to discuss with our client." Employees who receive thanks aren't thinking, "Gee, I wonder if my boss will fire me soon." Instead, they think, "Wow, they really appreciate my hard work." Thank you! Gratitude fosters trust, which is good for every workplace, right? The more gratitude a leader displays with their team, the more productive they become. Thanks, that was awesome! You totally rocked that deadline! Gratitude also produces greater effort in those who feel it. When we are rewarded for our effort in such a way, we are encouraged to give even more. That kind of gratitude is encouraging, because it's a reward for your effort. A leader demonstrating gratitude to their employees wins the appreciation of his or her employees. As gratitude research shows, it is one of the pinnacles of virtue. We appreciate virtue when we see it in others. When you express gratitude to others, your behavior will be appreciated. Gratefulness prevents other negative emotions from developing. Carey Nieuwhof wrote about gratitude in his article, “Grateful Leaders Make the Best Leaders.” People who are grateful are rarely angry, and people who are angry are rarely grateful. As he said: "Gratitude neutralizes your anger and jealousy." One could even suggest that gratitude can rid an organization of some of the malices associated with leaders such as micromanagement, authoritarianism, and rudeness. How to Exercise Gratitude I can change everything if I am grateful. It sounds too good to be true. Yes, it does sound a bit like a Biggie Smalls song. " It was a dream." It seems almost impossible for a human to consistently and without waiver live out this level of gratitude. By exercising gratitude intentionally every day, you can build up your gratitude muscle and cultivate genuine gratitude. Gratitude is frequent. There are a lot of things for which to be grateful, but you have to think about them frequently.