What's Gratitude Got To Do With Leadership?

Everything! As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches leaders in the United States are preparing for an onslaught of family visitors, delicious turkey dinners and plenty of personal drama. It can be a stressful time for many of us even if we are excellent time managers and carefully decide on what topics of conversation to avoid. But as the saying goes: “ The best-laid plans often go astray”. That reminds us that Thanksgiving and leadership are not just about our vision and execution, but also and most importantly about the people we connect with.Great leaders know that their success would be nowhere without their wonderful team and colleagues. Yet we often take for granted the interconnected relationships we work with daily and depend on. So Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to display our gratitude and appreciation.

Here are six actions leaders can take to show their gratitude:

1. Create Weekly Shout-Outs Of Thanks

Whether you are a team leader or team member, commit to a weekly email of thank you messages to everyone who you have worked with. Be specific by sharing why you are grateful for their help and how it has made a difference in an outcome. When we tell others who we depend on, how valuable their efforts and work are to us, we build trust and credibility too.

2. Host Team Fun Sessions

Adding play to our work worlds is a wonderful way to show we care about our teams. Connecting with fun activities also cultivates camaraderie and purpose and innovation. Some interactive team gatherings can include:
  • Designing a team coat of arms
  • Learning about each other through a human scavenger hunt
  • Hosting an out-of-office team day with games and relays
  • Creating a team newsletter describing what each member is working on
  • 3. Offer Fascinating Assignments

    There is nothing more satisfying to a team member than to work on a project that is of great interest to them. So another way to demonstrate gratitude is by asking colleagues what they would like to work on if given a choice. Both team leaders and team members should know what type of work energizes one another and fight to make that happen.

    4. Set-Up A Suggestion Box and Use Ideas

    All workplaces should have a suggestion box that is both visible and encouraged. In today’s organizations we must always keep in mind that many of our best innovations can come from different levels not just senior leadership. To show their gratitude for suggestions leaders should:
  • Empty the suggestion box weekly
  • Express a sincere interest in reading all the ideas
  • Clearly state how the suggestions are being incorporated into team decisions
  • Say “Thank you” for sharing their great insights and ideas
  • Related: 5 Actions Leaders Take To Plan For Their Next CrossroadRelated: When Leaders Share Their Stories They Build Credibility

    5. Establish A Monthly Culture Event or Lunch

    A fun way to learn about and appreciate the different cultures on your team is by having team members host an eating and sharing event. One of my clients loved offering this experience and the team members really enjoyed learning about the different rituals and unique food choices from the various cultures. This is a great opportunity to honor diversity and be grateful for different perspectives. 6. Promote The Contributions of Team MembersWhen we tell other teams and departments within our organizations about the extraordinary contributions from our own team members we are displaying gratitude and appreciation. Promote the accomplishments of the people we work with by:
  • Giving them credit in our final project results
  • Sending out emails of thankfulness for all their hard work
  • Continuing to ask them for input and ideas
  • Saying to them how much you depend on them and respect them
  • How do you show gratitude in your leadership? Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for reading my leadership blogs!