There’s really no denying that gratitude is an important quality for an effective leader. But it’s also not a characteristic that frequently shows up in conversations about leadership. Instead, the talk is usually on strength, goal setting, and growth, which are all important things. But if you want to be an effective leader that others want to follow, gratitude goes a long way.
There is a long list of things that researchers have connected with gratitude including things like:
- Lower blood pressure
- Stronger immune systems
- Being more alert
- Feeling more optimistic
- Improved focus towards goals
- Staying humble
- Being more approachable
- Increased productivity
I think it’s safe to say that we would all like more of the above things in our personal and professional life. So, here are some ways to improve your gratitude as a leader:
1. Schedule time on your calendar
If you’re not intentional about practicing gratitude it’s easy to forget about it. Your day is busy. You can easily get caught up in the to-do list and challenges of the day without taking time to think about what you’re grateful for. This is why you need to schedule it on your calendar. Many people like to start or end their day this way.
You can keep a journal of all the things you’re thankful for from the day. Or you can sit and meditate on it for a few minutes at a time. Find what works best for you and then be intentional about making it happen on a daily basis.
2. Express your gratitude to others… but be authentic
You’ll experience the benefits internally of practicing gratitude in your life, but why stop there? As a leader, communicating your gratitude towards others goes a long way in building up those around you. Make sure to thank people for the work they do. Thank them for sharing their ideas.
You may be tempted to think that you don’t need to do this because you’re paying them either way, but the truth is they could take their skills, expertise, and time to your competitor and work for them instead.
Letting those around you know they’re doing a great job and you’re thankful for them and the work they do helps build up your team’s trust and confidence.
The same goes for your clients. They don’t have to do business with you. They could choose your competitor. Make sure to communicate your gratitude to your clients as well.
3. Recognize those that go unnoticed
Years ago, my husband and I owned and operated a commercial cleaning company. It’s one of those jobs that most people don’t notice or mention until there is a problem. But there was a huge difference in the way our employees felt about cleaning the offices of those who were appreciative and those who acted like they were better than them. And it was a lot easier for all of us to go the extra mile for those clients that were kind and grateful.
How do you treat your team? Do you make it easy for them to want to go the extra mile for you?
4. In the challenging situations, look for the positive
It’s a given that you’re going to have problems within your business and your team from time to time. Strong leaders aren’t going to fall apart during those times. When things are hard or mistakes are made, it’s really easy to point out all the problems. It’s not nearly as easy to still take a moment to spot and acknowledge the good things in the situation.
You want to be the leader that is able to find the positives. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to address the challenges, it’s just that you take a new and more positive approach to do so.
5. Celebrate the wins
We live in a society that is always striving for more. If you hit your goals that’s great, but it just means that the goal gets bumped up again. And that’s important in order to experience continued growth, but it’s also exhausting if you’re not taking time to celebrate success and wins along the way. If you skip that, it can feel like you’re never truly achieving anything because the bar is constantly moving up.
Take time to celebrate your wins on a personal level internally. And make sure to celebrate the team wins and the company wins with your team. Each person plays a role in the work that is done, so let each person feel and celebrate the win as well.
Changing your mindset
Learning how to be more grateful also helps you have a growth mindset. And that’s exactly what you need if you want to be a strong and effective leader. As we all know from our past experiences, especially this past year, things aren’t always going to go as planned or as we would like them to. But learning how to appreciate the good things you have in your personal and professional life regardless of the situations around you can help you keep momentum and perspective as you move forward.
What are you going to do today to start being more grateful?