In the spirit of the season, this is a blog for leaders about being thankful. More to the point, it is a blog about showing appreciation when you are thankful.Cicero said "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." Gratitude is an attitude of appreciation. It is understanding and acknowledging that others have contributed in some way.
Sometimes, leaders forget that so many others have been involved in their success. They begin to believe they have accomplished so much because there is something superior about them. They lose sight of all the others along the way that have taught them, mentored them, supported them, forgiven them, and helped them in a myriad of ways.
Sometimes, leaders forget that recognizing others' contributions is more than a courtesy. I've heard many a manager say "Why should I say thank you? He was just doing his job."
Either way, when a leader doesn't have a feeling of gratitude or doesn't express that gratitude to others who have contributed, it is a missed opportunity. It is a missed opportunity for the leader to express something others may need to hear. It is a missed opportunity to validate and reinforce the behaviors the leader would like to see replicated. It is a missed opportunity to help others feel proud of the work they've done and connect to a bigger picture.
Being thankful means a leader truly appreciates what others have done. Being thankful keeps a leader humble, helping him or her to avoid arrogance or elevated pride.
Being thankful increases the likelihood that others will want to follow where you are leading. It feels good to be appreciated. It feels not so good to pour yourself into something when no one returns heartfelt appreciation for your efforts.
True thankfulness goes beyond the de rigueur words "thank you." When you really are thankful for what others have done, you will tell them why it mattered and how it impacted you or your project. You will show what it is you valued about what they did. This does not require expensive gift giving or elaborate recognition ceremonies. It does require genuine appreciation on the part of the leader.
Who are you thankful for in your workplace? How can you let him or her know what it is you appreciate about what they do? Take a moment during this Thanksgiving season to write a note and share your appreciation or have a one-on-one conversation to express your gratitude. Be specific, talk from your heart, and aim for giving that individual a feeling that what they do really, truly counts to you personally.
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