What might you do—today, and each day—in order to be a better leader? Feel gratitude about others, and share your appreciation with them!
“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
~ William Arthur Ward
If you are in a role where you are influencing what work others DO, you are a manager. Today, managers are expected to also lead—to influence in a way that inspires others to grow and BE their best selves at work.
One measure of great leadership is a natural inclination to feel gratitude and express authentic appreciation.
Feeling gratitude helps you BE your best self. Expressing those feelings of appreciation for others helps them feel good and like they matter. There’s research to prove it. Below I’ll touch on two findings related to the emotional and physical benefits of gratitude and appreciation, and how they help you gain alignment and momentum.
Gratitude is a feeling. You feel thankful about who you are, how you are, your circumstances, what you have, and what (or who) is in your life.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.”
~ Zig Ziglar
Finding: When you feel gratitude,
The research found this, and so have I. It’s one of my go-to mindset pivots.
When Abrige Corp. was in its early growth stage, our team, partners, and key vendors weren’t all a fit. It felt (and was) heavy at times, with misappropriation of funds, too much rework, and competition rather than collaboration. Not everyone, and not always, but enough to keep me up at night.
Yes, I did help one or two find another place to be. But I also chose to work on myself before giving up on everyone. I started a daily practice, first to clear my head, and then to start thinking of what I was grateful for. What could I appreciate? Who had done or said something that I appreciated?
By the end of my walk, I had pivoted from frustration to optimism!
Then I’d capture those feelings in a notebook…
Feeling appreciation is only part of the magic of gratitude. One must share the appreciation, and pay forward the good feelings.
Appreciation is an action. It’s your authentic expression of gratitude.
Continuing the story above… I would share my feelings quickly with each person I’d thought about, and once per week I’d write up a “Team Wow” for the one person who really stood out.
“Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter — that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.”
The Abrige team is virtual, so getting together only happens online. I experienced a live team that was so sincere, and disciplined, in sharing appreciation. It is the World-Famous Pike Place Fish Market team.
I was invited to join one of their semi-weekly dinners a few years ago. At this dinner, they spent time one-on-one just looking at and “being with” each other in silence (amazing). And they shared appreciation as a group, one person for another, until each person had been appreciated.
It could have been awkward, especially for those who had to raise their hands to acknowledge they’d not yet been appreciated. But it wasn’t awkward, and every person had done something that someone else had noticed and appreciated. It just felt great for all. Wow—that just never gets old!
Finding: When we express and receive appreciation, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for “feel good” emotions. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.
A Daily Practice
This newsletter is not going out during (U.S.) Thanksgiving week. There’s purpose behind my timing: gratitude and appreciation are not something you do only when a holiday rolls around. Weave gratitude and appreciation into every – single – day.
In an earlier newsletter series, I shared an individual daily practice to help ensure that the actions you take today lead you toward a better future. The final step, “connecting what to why,” is a smart place to insert gratitude if you aren’t already finding another time of day to do this (I leverage my nightly walk or evening pause for my gratitude practice, and the a.m. for my 5 Daily Practices).
Let me know how this works for you. If you already have a practice, share it. Even send a guest post if you’d like.