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 November 4, 2021   By Living As A Leader


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How Leaders Can Foster Independence

Gratitude has the power to transform difficult situations into meaningful work. It can energize both the giver and receiver of gratitude. And it can be its own reward.

Best of all, it’s free. So why don’t we express more appreciation for each other?

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, here are practical ways that leaders can increase gratitude in the workplace.

Express gratitude for your accomplishments

Gratitude is best expressed from the inside out. If you can express gratitude in your own life, you can better model it for others. Take a moment to write down some of the most meaningful moments of your career. Bring to mind quieter moments when you received a note, an email or a word of affirmation or gratitude. Think of the projects where you went above and beyond and the times you proved something to yourself and everyone around you. Think of the days you felt most fulfilled even if you were busy and stressed. Then read over them and see how gratitude for these moments makes you feel. Then realize you can create the same feeling for others.

Elevate the culture

This is not just about generating feel-good emotions –– it’s also about results. Many leaders may have the opinion, “Why would I thank people for coming in to work?” Others are thinking, “Our biggest challenge is retaining our workforce. If showing appreciation for the small things will make a difference, why wouldn’t I?” The fact is that numerous studies show that the better leaders engage their employees, the better the bottom line. The leader creates the environment that determines the mood of followers –– and the culture of gratitude.   

Recognize how you make a difference

When you express gratitude, know that real appreciation sticks with people and can show up even years later. Here’s one example from our work: Tom was a person who quietly went about his work without much acknowledgement. He was also someone that his supervisor, Dave, couldn’t afford to lose to turnover. After leaving Tom a thank-you note, Dave never heard back so initially he thought he didn’t make an impact. Then, months later, he spotted the note pinned to the side of Tom’s computer. “It must have done something for him to hold onto it,” Dave said.

As with every trait, leaders model the behavior and the rest of the organization follows suit. If you begin each interaction with a mindset of gratitude, it’s bound to increase –– and transform your environment.



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