Leaders probably think that gratitude is a gift they give; it is also a gift they receive when they practice expressing gratitude. It applies to any leader in any arena: sales, customer service, or operations.
First, it’s the gift of perspective. No matter what we’ve lost, gratitude allows us to focus on what we have. It allows us to focus on what’s right, not what’s wrong. It literally infects (and affects) our attitude and the attitude of our team. Some people think the antidote to negative thinking is positive thinking. It’s not. In my opinion, the antidote to negative thinking is gratitude.
It also keeps us from becoming self-absorbed, because it sustains a focus on purposes in life that are greater than ourselves. Leaders can become absorbed in themselves and their problems; gratitude break this self-absorption.
Second, it’s the gift of energy. Realizing what we have in life energizes our efforts to do something in response. Expressions of gratitude—notes, gifts, words, acts of service, and the like—re-fill our tanks. I wonder how many leaders realize that gratitude builds their psychological and spiritual reserves? It does.
Third, it’s the gift of guidance. Gratitude reminds us of what we value—of what is important to us and our teams—and where we should focus our time, actions, money, and attention. It makes a positive difference between what you look at in life and what you actually see.
Fourth, it’s the gift of resilience. I don’t know anyone with cancer who will tell you they’re grateful for the disease. Frankly, that type of happy talk makes little sense. But many people who have cancer or who have survived cancer—or other such challenges in life—will tell you they appreciate what came from the experience. And resilience is critical for leaders as they face the challenges of their work.
Expressing your gratitude–to your team, customers, vendors, family and friends–is a double gift that benefits both the giver and the receiver.