Gratefulness is essential to leading a happy and pleasurable life.  Kindness goes a long way, but gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, productivity, and resilience: all great attributes of a strong and successful leader.  It can work as a powerful tool for employee motivation and increasing personal happiness.  The power of grateful leadership is next to none when it comes to creating a positive workplace culture and an overall prosperous organization.

Why is it difficult to express gratitude in leadership?

Reactivity is an instinctual behavior when it comes to responding to something that is beyond our control.  Stress and anxiety are increased as we watch things unravel contrary to our wishes.  Therefore, gratefulness is not innate; it is an expression we must continually work on adding to our daily lives.

Leadership is a role that is held by a person who encompasses the ability to lead other people, teams, or entire organizations; leaving leaders responsible for much more than themselves. Tough as it is to come by in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life, it is that much harder for organizational leaders.  There is never-ending pressure to make sure tasks are being completed to reach corporate goals and that the employees are happy and motivated. Nothing too major, right?

Nearly 1/3 of employees do not show trust in management and even worse, we are now working with the millennial generation whose needs are much harder to cater to than ever before.  Disconnecting from the intensities of what goes on in the workplace is becoming a larger challenge for leaders, leaving little time to worry about much else, including reminders to express gratitude in leadership.

Defining Great Leadership

There is more than diligence in completing work and keeping all ducks in a row when it comes to award-winning management.  A subpar leader is one who skims the surface of what their job description entails to check off items on their to-do list for the sake of just that, checking off items on their to-do list.  A great leader adds to their job description without being told to step up their game.

Great leaders foster a sense of trust and loyalty.  They avoid blurred lines in communication at all costs, ensuring their team is clear on what to do to reach specified goals.  Most importantly, they remain strong in the face of adversity. Just like in any other position, things are bound to happen that are unavoidable.  Some would take a set back and give up, but not a great leader. A great leader embodies effective leadership skills. They are decisive and empowering, driven to make the best of the worst and motivate their team.  Above all else, they express gratitude.

How do good leaders express gratitude?

Expanding the capacity you have for feeling and expressing gratitude is important in strengthening not only your network, but your relationships as well.  You want to build a work culture where employees feel they are trusted and valued by you. The devil is in the details.

Gratitude De-briefing

At the submission of a major project or meeting a deadline early, one way a great leader will show their employees that they are grateful for their hard work is to hold a gratitude de-briefing.  The de-briefing focuses specifically on positive actions taken, engaging employees in a group conversation and empowering them to perform better on upcoming tasks.

Appreciation Link

Corporate events and gatherings are a great place for leaders to express their appreciation.  Whether it is during an individual conversation or a presentation to the entire organization, recognizing a person for a job well-done is a simple yet extremely thoughtful gesture.

Actively Seek Out Beneficial Contributions

It is easier to find things that are bothersome than things we appreciate and grow from.  A lot of the time, recognizing how someone contributed to your success and growth means paying close attention.  Letting someone know that they were able to directly help you in your growth and success in the workplace, and as an individual, leads to a great band of trust and appreciation.

How Gratitude Can Make You A Better Leader

Gratitude can lead the way in instigating innovation rather than reveling in stress.   Stress causes the brain to shut down, preventing our ability to form new thoughts and engage in our creativity.  We become less discriminating and make poor decisions on whom to turn to for support. Change the pattern from playing the victim card to using stress as a learning experience to become a creator.

Expressing gratitude serves as motivation to the receiver.  They will feel the extra push to keep up the work that is being commended.  It is mutually beneficial in that you will continuously strengthen the bond of trust between you and your employee, enticing them to work to the best of their ability.  Like the old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life”, the same goes for employees and leaders.  “Happy employee, happy leader.”

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude is something that should become part of your daily routine, whether you are a leader or not.  It is positively linked to mental health and wellbeing, as well as overall happiness. Energy is contagious, so why not make it positive if the power is in your hands to do so?  Here are some questions you should ask yourself daily to get your mind into the routine of being grateful.

  • What are three things I am appreciative of today?
  • Who am I grateful for?
  • What are three things that will make today amazing?
  • What is my personal affirmation for the day?

Once you are in the habit of being grateful for what you have in your personal life, expressing gratitude in the workplace will become second nature.  When you are feeling like your creativity for showing gratefulness is running at empty, not to worry, Thnks is here to help.  We make it easy for you to let someone know you appreciate their time, hard work, long hours, or whatever else it may be at the touch of a button.

Written by: Ariella Sharf, Editor and Founder of Heart and Vogue

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