The Point: A well functioning team lead by a solid leader has much to be thankful for, akin to the thought that “success” has many fathers while “failure” would appear to be an orphan. So it begs the question what happens when results aren’t accomplished, workloads not distributed equally, and attitudes go right down the drain? In this post we’ll examine the leadership challenge of gratitude and provide the leader with 3 tips to help a leader towards success… Enjoy!
I’m Thankful, Appreciative, and Kind (Aren’t I?)
Meet Jim… A mid-level manager for a Fortune 100 company (Name obviously changed to protect identities!) Jim has an “opportunity (i.e., a problem). Jim’s opportunity is that after years of successfully leading his team of five sales associates towards “best ever” results for the company, this year they are falling short of objective. This “shortness” is causing tension amongst the team, as would be expected.
The largest problem that Jim faces is the level of gratitude that his team exhibits. If the definition of gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, then Jim’s team seems to be running in the opposite direction. While “coffee is for closers” and a certain level of Darwinism is present leading to only the strong surviving, in this situation/place/time it is becoming evident that a change needs to be made… Starting with Jim’s gratitude.
Why Gratitude is a Leader’s Secret Weapon
In working with Jim I recognized that if he was leading the team, he was also leading the team when it came to being thankful for what they had accomplished and progress towards the strategic plan made to date. While the goals were not being accomplished to the desire of senior leadership (or Jim), there still was a silver-lining in that they were steadily progressing down the sales playing field. In fact, they were just a few key accounts away from not only accomplishing sales objectives, but surpassing them. Could there be a way to tap into gratitude to make things better for all?
In researching gratitude I was surprised to see that those that practice frequent check-ins with what they have to be thankful/appreciative/kind in regards to experience more frequent positive emotions, have a sense of being more alive, get more restful sleep, share greater moments of compassion and kindness, and have a stronger immune system so as to ward off cold/flu/allergy viruses. We’d all like to get these, right?
3 Tips to Overcome the Leadership Challenge of Gratitude
So here are three tips that should help you/your team in upping your gratitude game to accomplish results (and feel great while doing it!):
Tip #3 – Journal 10 Gratitudes Daily
Start off each morning by finding a quiet place/time and list out in a journal ten gratitudes that you have in your life right there/then. These could be complex (I am beating cancer) or simple (I put two black shoes on today!) The important part is to develop this journaling habit and listing out what you have to be thankful for.
Tip #2 – Identify Actions To Be Taken
Identify actions that you will take that day to bring these gratitudes developed in Tip #3 above to reality. Look at your calendar for the day to identify meetings to be held and how you can strategically achieve greater gratitude.
Tip #1 – Share at least three (3) of your gratitudes with a peer. This peer could be your work peers, personal peers, or simply expressing these out loud if you choose to not make public your gratitude (but why wouldn’t you want to?)
In this post we’ve examined the leadership challenge of gratitude and provided 3 tips to assist the leader in creating greater gratitude moments. While some will argue that this creates recognition of glass half full/empty, it also provides the springboard to a better day!