How Gratitude Impacts Your Leadership and Team Performance

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A Leader’s Gratitude Makes the Difference

Can we be thankful but not really grateful?

As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday here in America obviously the topic of gratitude comes up. Listening to my pastor on Sunday, he suggested in his talk that more often than not we are thankful for things but not grateful. Do you agree?

What I got from this was that thankfulness is a verbal expression but gratitude is an action.  In the story, Jesus rids ten men of Leprosy but only one comes back to show gratitude to Him.

Were they all thankful? Most certainly. Only one truly showed gratitude and that made the difference.

No Matter What

nighttime view of our cabin in georgiaIt’s been a weird month.  Lately, every month has been a weird month. I’m sure you can appreciate that as well.

My two youngest kids are about to complete their first semester of college. That’s a totally new feeling for me as I realize how close they are to striking out on their own.

We had a sudden need to go car shopping when one vehicle expired. Finding one that had the right features within our budget was a real struggle but we finally found one and completed the purchase. Just in time to drive it up to Georgia for a few days at my sister’s cabin. I am writing this from there.

Where is Your Focus as a Leader?

I mention this not to just to give you a family update but rather as an example. There were things that didn’t get done when I wanted them done because of these many distractions.

As a leader, I can put my focus on that OR I can focus on what went well.

  • I was thankful to find another car. My gratitude is the action of the stewardship I show in how I care for the vehicle and use it.
  • We are thankful our kids are in college. Our gratitude is to support them and encourage them in this experience.

As leaders, the actions we take in gratitude affect not only us but those we lead as well.

  • You can be thankful to be in business and in gratitude approach each day in a positive manner.
  • Thankful for the team you have and show gratitude by the way you treat them
  • Express thankfulness for the level of productivity your team has achieved and demonstrate gratitude by helping them to reach higher.
  • You can thank each customer for their business and show gratitude by rewarding them for their choice and their faithfulness.
  • Because you see despite all the disturbances in our week, the family was able to spend time together and to celebrate Thanksgiving and share a large, very filling meal.  Rather than harp on the inconveniences, we instead focus on the good and positive things that happened.

Gratitude is an action and therefore is one of a leader’s strongest tools.  Gratitude in practically the ultimate in positive thinking.  It doesn’t ignore the fact that there are problems. It doesn’t disregard that we are not where we wish to be or who we wish to be. It rejoices in what we have been blessed with so far, no matter how big or small.  And it turns that attitude into an action that creates more positive effect in both ourselves and our team.

Gratitude is Out Loud

Gratitude, when properly practiced, becomes a way of life and a way of thinking.  The proper practice of gratitude is to engage in it daily.  Waiting until the holidays to express gratitude is not the appropriate application.  That’s called ritual.  What we want is authentic, heart-felt thankfulness for how your life has been blessed and how others have influenced you positively.  In fact, the key to effective gratitude is to remember that gratitude is loud and persistent.  The more often you promptly proclaim your thanksgiving and the more openly your share it, the more blessings multiply and opportunities appear and actions yield results.

I am thankful I am here with family celebrating this season. My gratitude action is that I am stopping here to enjoy that. What will YOU do?

Action Plan

  • Start your own gratitude journal, beginning today and through to the rest of the year at least.  Each day, first thing in the morning (including weekends), write down ONE THING for which you are grateful.  From that, determine ONE ACTION YOU WILL TAKE to demonstrate your gratitude THAT DAY. Start now.

P.S.

Wow! After I finished and posted this, I ran across this excellent article supporting these thoughts. Give it a read.

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