Gratitude and leadership

I often remember my grandparents because they were my inspiration and role models. Through their actions and their stories, I learned about gratitude.   Even when money was often in short supply, food on the table was never a problem.  Therefore, saying thanks for whatever we had to eat that day was a meaningful part of our mealtime.  When I complained or said I did not like it, my grandma’s answer was always the same.  She will say that we must be grateful for what we receive and what we have.

Gratitude is being thankful for something you received or have.  This positive emotion occurs after acknowledging the subject’s value, what it means to you, and appreciating the people that make it happen.  One way to show respect to your team is by validating their accomplishments and showing gratitude.    

Show gratitude to be a good leader

Your team is critical to accomplishing the business goals.  This statement is true regardless of how much you know or how effective you are.

The boss does not need to know everything.  Humble leaders know that and do not care to ask for help when facing a problem.  Moreover, they are good at acknowledging the support and appreciating those who provide it.  Acting upon gratitude by saying it aloud is a way to show respect.  Also, it is a way to admit that you could not have done on your own, which only a humble leader will do.

Reflection and gratitude

One thing that does not come easy for a leader or anybody else is to stop and think.  It is far more common to keep going making decisions and moving forward.  Sometimes, this happens even when we are not sure if we are going in the right direction.  However, as with most things, you can build the habit of practicing gratitude.  

Good leaders keep a space on their leader standard work for reflection.  A continuous improvement culture is about learning, experimenting, and reflection on the results to keep learning and improving.  Gratitude and reflection go hand in hand.  While we reflect on the outcome of our actions, we realize the contribution of each team member and how it affects the result.  In continuous improvement, we win, or we learn.  For that reason, every contribution matters.  For instance, every team action led to accomplishing the goal or learning how to do it better next time.

But you need to act upon it

If we pause and reflect each day, that moment will impact our success in the long run.  As leaders, we cannot take our employees for granted.  Being thankful for their contributions, for supporting the business, and for being team members.  Appreciate their commitment to improving processes and creating value for the company customers. More importantly, express your gratitude, let them know that you recognize the value of their actions, and appreciate them.  As Gertrude Stein said, silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.

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