3 Ways Gratitude Enhances Leadership by Shannon Cassidy

3 Ways Gratitude Enhances Leadership

The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more you will have to express gratitude for.—Bill Gates

As we enter the fall season, we begin to think of fall holidays, like Thanksgiving. But gratitude is not relegated to once a year on the 4th Thursday. Gratitude enhances leadership when practiced regularly and results in a more successful enterprise.

How? Here are three ways a simple attitude of thankfulness can change your business:

  1. Being grateful for your employees cultivates loyalty.

A typical day for any leader contains moments where you rely on your team’s expertise and work ethic. In those moments, the simple words “thank you” are vital. Everyone wants to be appreciated for their skill set and when they receive that pat on the back, loyalty to their leader is created. According to an article in Business News Daily, a recent survey revealed that 93% of respondents believed bosses were more likely to be successful if they were grateful.

Simple and sincere appreciation is the most effective form of positive reinforcement, and it’s free. The loyalty of a good employee is an effective tool for any company.

  1. Being grateful for your position as a leader cultivates humility.

Young Benjamin Franklin was said to be cocky and ego-centric.  But he was also smart enough to realize that he was becoming morally bankrupt. He set out to find character traits in which he needed to improve.  He came up with a list of twelve traits. Confident and proud of himself, he showed the list to a trusted friend probably with the idea of boasting of his efforts to improve. His friend then gave him a jolt that led to adding a 13th trait – humility. Leaders who cultivate humility inspire their employees. Egotism in a boss often fuels resentment, but humility creates a cheerful environment where employees want to succeed for the boss and the company.

Freibergs.com made the powerful observation:

When you are in awe of what you have, the immediate response is a deep sense of appreciation: “Whom do I repay?” “What does it mean to give back in life?” “How can I be a better steward of what I have?” These questions leave little room for envy, entitlement, or complaint. It’s hard to complain when we are truly thankful, but it’s hard to be thankful when we think we are entitled and take so much for granted.

Simply being grateful for your position as a leader can improve your company and your team.

  1. Being grateful cultivates mental strength.

For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.  A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gratitude fosters mental strength. There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. This isn’t just a fluffy idea. Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls.

What leader would not want loyalty, humility and mental strength? These qualities can be characteristics of your company when you and other leaders in your company cultivate gratitude. Want a more successful company? Practice gratitude all year long.

Want to cultivate gratitude? Order your own gratitude journal here.








Can Change Management Help My Company by Shannon Cassidy

Can Change Management Help My Company?

You’ve heard the buzz word before. Change management. According to Prosci Solutions, change management is defined as “the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.”

For the past few decades, individuals have researched this relatively new skill set. Associations have formed to provide support and training.

The first State of the Change Management Industry report was published in the Consultants News in February 1995.

In 2013, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also included Change Management as a core competence in their Standards..

The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) was created in 2011 and announced that in 2016 that, to enhance the profession, a new certification will be introduced: Certified Change Management Professional.

So how can change management help your company or career?

According to Prosci Solutions:

“Realizing the benefits of your strategy depends on people changing how they do their work. Change management is a structured approach to drive these individual transitions.”

If a company adapts change management, it will:

  1. Increase the likelihood projects will succeed. Projects where changing practices, techniques or attitudes are important need extra attention. Left to just “adapt” to new requirements, employees often become frustrated or discouraged. Change management gives these individuals the leadership and training they need to feel confident.
  2. Manage employee resistance to change. We are all resistant to change. Humans get comfortable in their set patterns. To upset that comfort is to experience pain. Peter Benge, an American systems scientist said, “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” Change management gives an employee a safe way to experience change without feeling they are “being” changed.
  3. Build change competency in the organization. In using change management, a company acquires experience in helping individuals and groups change. By first identifying those who will need to change and defining what ways they will need to change, the process is broken down into manageable tasks that build competency in change management. After using this process the first time, the “change” techniques become easier and easier.

Your company’s individuals will embrace change more quickly and effectively when they are equipped to handle change. You team will more easily embrace new strategic initiatives and they will adopt new technology quicker.

Change management is more than a buzz word. It is a tool that every company can adopt to help employees navigate the ever-changing business environment.






develop leaders, not more followers Shannon Cassidy

Develop Leaders, Not More Followers


Besides the celebration, what happens if you get a promotion? What if you need to leave your company for some reason or you find yourself called to a different path in life? If any of these occur, what happens to your team? A great leader is always on the lookout for people they can teach and mentor. They search not for more followers but for potential leaders who can replace them. They develop leaders, not more followers.

So how do you develop another you? Another great leader? Begin with these four methods.

Give them experiences tailored to leadership.

As a manager or leader, you have certain tasks that are not required of anyone but you. Find ways that your potential leaders can gain experience in those areas. If you make a presentation once a month, allow your mentee to try her hand at it. As you develop their leadership skills, watch for unique talents they can apply to managing. Look for skills that you didn’t use because you didn’t have that talent. Allow them to see behind the curtain and try their hand at the parts of your position that are invisible to most.

Teach them to network.

Networking events can be painful and awkward, but great leaders jump in and do the work no matter how they feel. Teach your candidates how to network by having them follow you and watch how you initiate conversations. After they’ve witnessed your techniques for a while, they will be equipped to network independently. Networking is extremely valuable no matter the job. Giving your mentee the chance to cultivate abilities and confidence in networking is vital to the future of your company. As they progress into leadership roles, they’ll already have contacts and people skills.

Allow them to fail.

E.M Forster said, “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

It is highly beneficial for your leaders-in-training to fail, so you need to give them that chance. Push them to figure out problems on their own and then allow them to act on the wrong solution. Micromanaging will not teach your candidates how to stand on their own when they move into the leadership role. Of course, this doesn’t mean allowing their failures to affect the company while you just watch. But little by little, allow your leaders-in-training more responsibility.

Trust them to lead.

Just as it is difficult to watch your child leave your nest, it is a hard decision to allow your leader-in-training to leave your watchful eyes to lead independently. In order to complete the development of a leader, you must take your hands off the result. Think about it: If you teach your leader-in-training how to make smart, informed decisions, but still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, how empowered will they feel?

Begin now to look around and select employees that you see have potential for leadership. If you do leave your company or your current position, you will have a succession plan in place for continued growth without you.

Leaders develop more leaders.






Maximizing Employee Productivity: It's as Easy as 1, 2, 3 photo Shannon Cassidy

Maximizing Employee Productivity: It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3

How to maximize employee productivity may seem like the best kept secret in business, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Employees are motivated by the same things that motivate you; it’s simply putting the process into place that foster the desire to give their best every time they walk in the door.

Learn What Motivates Them

An annual engagement survey, a stay interview, or a casual conversation can bring light to the factors that motivate your best employees. By simply asking those who have dedicated years of hard work to the organization, “Why did you stay? What motivates you to work so hard? What would drive you to consider a new opportunity?” you can gain invaluable insight regarding motivators. Some might answer that they love the challenge of the position, while others may tell you that they feel the work they do makes a difference in the lives of others. Some might appreciate some light competition in the workplace while some may strive for reward or acknowledgement.

Once you understand what drives your best employees, you can develop policies and practices that provide this kind of motivation to all employees as a workplace culture. Perhaps you can promote feeling challenged by implementing a progressive fast-track to leadership program for those who show promise. You might help each employee understand how their contributions really matter to the company or what the company has done to support local causes to promote the personal satisfaction that accompanies performing meaningful work.

Establish a Work Environment that Drives Performance

Employees who are overheated, exhausted, or unorganized can’t perform to their full potential. Establish a work environment that’s conducive to stellar performance. Ask your employees which simple changes might increase their productivity to find quick wins that improve morale and boost productivity. HR managers often find that employee requests are not what they expected – they tend to be very inexpensive, unburdensome requests but fulfilling these requests instantly boosts morale and productivity. Some common requests include a small fan, an anti-fatigue mat, or a chair or stool.

Keep in mind that asking the question but failing to deliver can ultimately decrease productivity. If a request is made that simply can’t be done, it may be beneficial to explain the reasoning to employee who made the request and ask if they have any other ideas or suggestions that you can work on.

Reward Them for Achievement

Reward employees for longevity and productivity. Genuine acknowledgement in public is often the simplest and most meaningful reward to employees at every level and every supervisor, manager, and administrator can do it. Reward employees throughout the day by providing paid breaks every couple hours to refresh and recharge. Reward them annually by commending them for the dedication to the organization. Consider issuing small bonuses for production over a certain threshold.

The key to motivating employees to perform highly lies right within the walls of your own organization; it can be found through simple discussion with your very own high performers and then timely and sufficient follow through. Arm yourself with knowledge, respond appropriately, establish a comfortable environment, and reward your employees every day that they walk through those doors ready to produce.


Reasons to use a gantt chart

Reasons to Use a Gantt Chart


Imagine juggling several balls at once, keeping your eyes on all of them. To drop one is to spoil the entire performance. In order to accomplish this, you must be a skilled juggler. A project manager’s job is like this, keeping all the parts of the moving project working and going forward.

But there is a wonderful tool that help with the juggling – the Gantt Chart. Even though Henry Gantt invented it in 1910, it is relevant and extremely useful today, especially with all the Gantt Chart software.

Patrick Hankinson of Hello Focus explains:

Put simply, a Gantt Chart is a way to visualize a project schedule. At first glance a Gantt Chart might not look substantially different from a horizontal bar chart. However, by plotting progress (either completed or expected) against project elements, Gantt Charts create a visual timeline that is coherent and easy to interpret. 

Reasons to Use a Gantt Chart:

  1. You can have a chart that is visual and flexible. The chart will be an evolving document that can tell you and your team the exact progress you’re making on individual aspects of the project and the project as a whole.
  2. You can manage jobs effectively. By using a Gantt Chart, you can break the project down into manageable tasks. It all boils down to manageability. Gantt Charts help you break down big projects into small chunks so that tasks can be delegated and responsibilities shared. As part of this process, you’ll work out who will be responsible for each task, how long each task will take, and what problems your team may encounter. This detailed thinking helps you ensure that the schedule is workable, the right people are assigned to each task, and that you have workarounds for potential problems before you start.
  3. You can set accurate deadlines. Make it a habit to schedule or reschedule tasks for a project directly on your Gantt Chart. By doing so, you’ll see how every tiny change affects the timing of the entire project — which means more precise planning and accurate deadlines.
  4. You can define dependencies. One of the best reasons to use a Gantt Chart is to determine out the total amount of time it will take to accomplish a project (what project managers like to call the Critical Path). This can be done by defining dependencies — those tasks which depend on other tasks before they can be started or completed.

According to the editorial team and Mind Tools:

In Gantt charts, there are three main relationships between sequential tasks:

Finish to Start (FS) – FS tasks can’t start before a previous (and related) task is finished. However, they can start later. Start to Start (SS) – SS tasks can’t start until a preceding task starts. However, they can start later. Finish to Finish (FF) – FF tasks can’t end before a preceding task ends. However, they can end later.

  1. You can display the progress of your project. You can use these charts to keep your team and your sponsors informed of progress. Simply update the chart to show schedule changes and their implications, or use it to communicate that key tasks have been completed.

Do you utilize Gantt charts?