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.

Sources:

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7157-power-perspective-leadership.html

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7157-power-perspective-leadership.html

http://linked2leadership.com/2013/11/26/humble-and-grateful-the-truly-effective-leader/

http://www.freibergs.com/resources/articles/leadership/lead-with-gratitude/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/

Read More

5 ways for a leader to practice thanksgiving Shannon Cassidy

5 Ways for a Leader to Practice Thanksgiving

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

It’s almost Turkey Day. Folks are gearing up to eat deviled eggs, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie before they watch the game and take a nap. But Thanksgiving is not all about the three f’s – family, food and football.

It is about giving thanks.

As leaders of your team, this is a wonderful time of year to begin the habit of practicing thanksgiving so you can do it all year, not just in November. Saying those two powerful words can mean the world to someone who has worked hard. Not saying the same two words, especially when it requires little effort, can diminish one of your team member’s worth and that will lead to them not giving as much effort on the next project.

Saying “thank you” is a win-win. Your appreciation will boost the effort of your team and their response to being appreciated will boost their productivity. It’s a win-win.

So follow these five suggestions to make the phrase “THANK YOU” a part of the culture of your team.

  1. Be prompt. Don’t wait too long after you’ve noticed a job well done to say “thank you.” Put a note on your desk or calendar reminding yourself to look for moments to say “thank you”. If you wait too long, gratitude loses its power.
  2. Be specific. Say exactly what you are thankful for. Although “thank you” is polite and powerful, its potency is increased ten-fold if you follow it with a specific reason.“Thank you for working extra hours yesterday.” Practice adding specifics to your gratitude and your team members will notice. “Thank you for making sure our coffee orders were correct.” “Thank you for going the extra mile with this report.”
  3. Be discerning. Learn what your team members appreciate as rewards and add it to your “thank you”. Handwritten notes or gift cards are loved by some people. Take your team or team member to lunch and then give them the rest of the day off. Get to know what your team members would consider a great reward. Not everyone would consider a handwritten note a bonus, while others would consider it a lovely touch. If you email a team member thank you, copy the message to your boss (and theirs, if you aren’t their boss). Free days off coupons, telecommuting days, or flexible scheduling are great rewards for the person that appreciates those types of rewards. Match the reward to the person.
  4. Be sincere. Don’t rush it. Intentionality comes across as genuine and heartfelt. So make your “thank you” deliberate. Don’t walk by someone and say “By the way, thanks!” Stop at their desk or cubicle, look them in the eyes and say it with honest appreciation. Those two words will go a long way with sincerity behind them.
  5. Be consistent. If you praise often during one month but then skip the next month, your team might wonder what’s going on. Practice thanksgiving by making it a habit. Give yourself a goal and put the goal on your desk or calendar or phone and stick with it. By doing this you will be creating a culture of thanksgiving that includes recognition and reward.

Instead of stuffing yourself with turkey, potatoes and gravy, how about stuffing yourself with gratitude? Don’t be a leader who hoards appreciation. Spread it around your team and make it a habit that they will see and begin imitating. Let the Thanksgiving of 2015 be the beginning of practicing thanksgiving all year around.

 

Sources:

www.teamworkandleadership.com/2014/11/two-of-the-most-powerful-words-leaders-can-say-and-why-you-should.html#sthash.ozVAEqrX.94ZD4Hsd.dpuf

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_54.htm

Read More