by Kevin Eikenberry
This article won't restate the obvious (more than I already have). Instead, it explores the fundamentals of how leaders can transform genuine gratitude into a positive force for change and success for those you lead and in your organization in general.
Before I go on I must highlight a critical word in the previous sentence - genuine.
Please know that all the suggestions that follow will make a huge difference, but the difference will only be a positive one (for you and others) when your gratitude is genuine, authentic and heartfelt. Please read the rest of my suggestions, with this as a given. In the end, I hope you see that gratitude is far from a soft, "nice to do" behavior. On the contrary, it is a real and important key to your success as a leader. All the benefits start with the fundamentals.
The First Three Fundamentals
See it. As a leader, you have lots of things on your mind. In order to be grateful, you must first see or notice things for which to be grateful. Do you want to be grateful more often? Then set your mind on looking for things to be grateful for. Once you set your subconscious mind in motion, you will begin to find them more often.
Say it. Are you grateful or thankful for something someone did or is doing? Let them know! Once you have seen something you appreciate or are grateful for, let people know by telling them. And while you are at it, make your gratitude as specific as possible. It could be a simple thank you, but it also could lead to a habit of giving more positive feedback.
Write it. This could be in an email, but, even better in a handwritten note. Let people know what you saw, how it made you feel and why it is important. These words will be read, and likely read repeatedly, and the quite possibly shared with others. Most people I've ever asked tell me they have a file of letters and positive comments they've received from others. As a leader you will be adding to people's positive memories, and perhaps treasured files, with your words.
This is all good advice in any part of our lives, but as leaders, when we see, say and/or write our gratitude to others it makes a huge difference. As a leader, you have a special place in people's lives. Your words, opinions and actions matter. The gratitude you share in conversation or on paper could absolutely change someone's life.
The Final Fundamental - The Transformational Component
I started by stating that when we are grateful, good things happen for us. When we think about it from a leadership perspective, we realize the benefits are potentially much larger.
The final fundamental is to share it. Gratitude is a viral emotion - meaning it's one that can spread quickly.
As a leader you are more than just carriers of any emotional contagion (positive or negative) - you can spread it much faster and much further than anyone else. When you share and role model your gratitude in the ways described above, you begin to positively change the culture and environment of the workplace.
The results of these changes can result in improved performance, improved teamwork, reduced stress, higher retention and much more. Hopefully you see that being grateful is more than something you can or should do at the close of a big project or at a couple predefined times of the year. Rather, genuine gratitude is always appropriate and always in season.
About The Author
Remarkable leaders know gratitude matters. It’s one way of giving better feedback and developing others. One way leaders learn those skills is by participating in The Remarkable Leadership Learning System - a one skill at a time, one month at a time method of becoming a more confident and successful leader. Kevin Eikenberry is a bestselling author, speaker, trainer and the Chief Potential Officer of the Kevin Eikenberry Group. The Kevin Eikenberry invites you to visit: http://www.kevineikenberry.com for more information on his books and leadership system.