Greatness begins with awareness.

Are You a Grateful Leader?

Every year around this time, the idea of thankfulness is brought to our collective attention. Many of us share what we are grateful for at the Thanksgiving table. Yet, the attitude of gratitude shouldn’t be something that we only embrace once a year. It should be a habitual practice.

Being thankful every day is an important part of our well-being, and research shows that grateful leaders are the most successful.

When we can recognize what is good about our lives, what we have done well, and the contribution of those around us, we adopt a healthy perspective that helps us move forward. Everything becomes easier. Even when challenges occur, our mind is trained to look for the silver lining, so we approach the situation with calm and fortitude.

Conversely, when we constantly focus on what is wrong and have a woe-is-me mentality, we tend to always assume the worst and might find it difficult to trust others. This creates a domino effect that leaves us feeling stuck and overwhelmed, so whenever a problem arises, it will seem much bigger than it is.

Daily Thanksgiving Improves Leadership

During leadership coaching, I help my clients increase their awareness of their strengths, what works for them, and the contribution they make every day. They then learn to look at their colleagues, bosses, and direct reports in the same way. Through this, they build a positive view of themselves and those around them that have a powerful ripple effect on the way they act. They become grateful leaders.

One client, a partner in an accounting firm, always starts his coaching sessions with a list of his successes and the things for which he is thankful. This habit of acknowledging the good before discussing his challenges has created a positive behavior change that plays out in his days. His worldview has shifted.

Another client says he learned how self-awareness and gratitude go hand in hand. First, he became more aware of how his actions and words impact people and then that led to him being more thankful.  In the past, he would always focus on the things in his life he didn’t like; now, he says thanks every day for the many good things he has.

How To Make Grateful Leadership a Habit

Embracing a grateful attitude is something we can all learn. It can be awkward at first if you are not used to it, and it might be hard to come up with things to be thankful. The good news? The more you do it, the easier it gets. By the way, gratitude has nothing to do with being religious. You can thank God, the universe, or yourself – whatever feels natural to you.

Here are some ideas on how to get started:

  • At the end of the day, list the things you have completed that day and try to notice the good that has happened, no matter how little. For example, “I am pleased with how I handled the challenging conference call this morning.”
  • Find other moments throughout the day when you can quickly go through the things for which you are thankful. It could be just before closing your eyes at night, in the shower, or stopped at a traffic light. All you really need is a few seconds to reflect.
  • Let those around you know you are grateful for them. Don’t wait for big things. You can include a “thank you” in your email or phone messages or say, “I appreciate all that you do.” These small acts are so important.  Their impact is tremendous. Just make sure they are heartfelt and authentic.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.  Your support and readership are appreciated!

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