January 18, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Leadership Style: The Power of Grateful Leadership

Grateful Leadership


This article is inspired by the book:

Grateful Leadership using the Power of Acknowledgement” by Judith W. Umlas.

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.

What is a Grateful Leader?

A person who is generous with acknowledgement is the key to Grateful Leadership.  It is:

What is Acknowledgement?

“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.

What are the reasons to be a Grateful Leader?

There are many reasons to be a grateful leader. Why?

Tools to help you be a Grateful Leader

Here are some tools suggested by the author:

  1. Consciousness – become aware of acknowledgments
  2. Choice – you can still always choose yes or no
  3. Courage – needed when we deliver an authentic acknowledgement and feel vulnerable
  4. Communications – figure out the best way to reach your recipient and communicate your gratitude and appreciation profoundly and authentically
  5. Commitment to being a grateful leader, when you witness the benefits of grateful appreciation like people taking initiative and work with passion and engagement.

Grateful Leadership will help you align with your true mission, goals, and purpose.

According to Judith Umlas there are some proven effects of acknowledgement on employees. They are:

Not only for leaders, but for any person in general, gratitude, defined as:

‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’ –

will lead to many advantages as proven by research.

A few years ago the University of California published a summary of results from a series of studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences. Below are some of their findings:

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.

Please subscribe to the RSS feed of Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future posts.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Projects Software says:

    You present an interesting angle in regards to a grateful leadership and its consequences. Thanks for the article and hope to read from you again. Nice work Linky.

  2. Linky, I am so moved and honored by the way in which you represent the work I have been trying so hard to bring forth in the world. You have gotten it so completely that it really inspires me. It allows me to know in my head what I have always felt in my heart — that acknowledgment is a basic human need that transcends all cultures, genders and industries. You in South Africa totally comprehend what I am trying to get across from my outpost in New York. There is a constant need for leaders to be grateful for their stakeholders’ contributions. Linky, I am so pleased to have you on my “team.” Together you and others like you will help me in my mission to make the world a better place. Best, Judith