The concept of Grateful Leadership is as profound as the concept of the leadership style Servant Leadership, dating from the 1960’s, has been. This is a model that came after the success of The Power of Acknowledgement, a book by the same author.
- One who expresses appreciation for employees’ and other stakeholders’ contributions.
- One who acknowledges, supports, and engages his/her people profoundly on an ongoing basis.
- One who wants to know his/her employees and other stakeholders as people.
“Acknowledgment is a heartfelt and authentic communication that lets a person know their value to the organization and the importance of the contribution that they make.” From ‘The Power of Acknowledgment’ by Judith W. Umlas.
- It creates a positive work environment.
- When people are appreciated, it engages and retains them with an organization.
- Motivates stakeholders and even suppliers will give better products and services if you can express gratitude towards them.
- It creates superior results.
- Self-actualization on the top of the Maslow pyramid means being satisfied and nurtured by all that one does. Self-transcendence is seeing to it that others feel self-actualized.
Tools to help you be a Grateful Leader
- Consciousness – become aware of acknowledgments
- Choice – you can still always choose yes or no
- Courage – needed when we deliver an authentic acknowledgement and feel vulnerable
- Communications – figure out the best way to reach your recipient and communicate your gratitude and appreciation profoundly and authentically
- Commitment to being a grateful leader, when you witness the benefits of grateful appreciation like people taking initiative and work with passion and engagement.
- A sense of self-worth
- Excitement, joy
- Purpose for living
- Sense of contribution
- Documented physical changes – both for giver and receiver
- “Pay it forward” types of behavior
- In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer negative physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
- A related benefit was observed for personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
- A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles.
- Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
In my opinion, gratefulness is a quality that all people, including project managers, can strive for and practice on a daily basis. We can all make a difference in our circles of influence, our families, our work place and our communities. As a leader with a much bigger circle of influence, practicing Grateful Leadership can change the world, one person at a time.
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