Qualities To Succeed in a Leadership Role: Authentic Gratitude

Great leaders know how to demonstrate authentic gratitude and create a culture of mutual appreciation.

manager handshaking worker

Gratitude is the one quality of a great leader that doesn't get enough attention. Showing appreciation to the people you lead makes them want to perform better for you. When everyone is doing their best, results turn out better.

On top of this, appreciating the efforts of those around you helps open your mind to critical feedback and to finding ways to grow your leadership skills. Great leaders see themselves as a work in progress and always strive to be better. Study after study has shown that gratitude in a workplace increases productivity, but I've seen business environments where leaders do not even say thank you. Great leaders know how to demonstrate authentic gratitude and create a culture of mutual appreciation.

How To Show Gratitude as a Leader

Go beyond saying "thanks" to be an effectively grateful leader. Express your gratitude in an impactful way, such as:

1. Customizing a thank you to the person you're delivering it to. Think of a way to thank someone that's meaningful to them, like giving them a day off during a busy tax season when you know their son is in an important little league playoff.

2. Acknowledging individuals instead of performance. Focus on how the person made a difference and recognize their effort.

3. Being specific about what you're grateful for. Tell them about a situation where their actions made a positive impact that you appreciated.

4. Being authentic with your gratitude. Leadership takes vulnerability and honesty to be effective.

By following these steps at your organization, you boost motivation, engagement, productivity and retention. Showing your gratitude as a leader makes the people you lead feel better about working toward your goals.

How Gratitude Influences You Personally

Being grateful is good for you too as it improves your health and your performance as a leader. Research shows that gratitude has several positive influences on your life, such as:

• Increased self-esteem.

• Greater sense of well-being.

• Lower chances of anxiety and depression.

• Higher sleep quality.

• Improved self-control.

• Better decision-making abilities.

Others gravitate toward you when you're grateful. People notice the influence of gratitude on your personality and learn to expect positive outcomes from interactions with you. In turn, they listen and engage more with your directions and ideas for reaching goals.

Gratitude increases your humility and empathy. These qualities put your focus on others rather than on yourself. Practicing gratitude helps you see people's value and strengths and how to utilize them effectively.

Ways of Becoming a Grateful Leader

Start being grateful by realizing that you need those you lead to have success. The more you appreciate their skills, the more they will use them to help you. Some ways to practice gratitude include:

• Sending a thank-you note. Think about and write why you're grateful to have that person in your life.

• Creating a gratitude list. Take a moment each week to list all the things you've been grateful for during the week.

• Taking a gratitude walk. Step outside and focus on the things you have to be thankful for.

During these exercises, you build habits of feeling grateful. Gratitude is like a muscle, and when you exercise it, the people you lead sense it and respond in kind.

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