Gratitude: One of the Overlooked Qualities of a Good Leader

Written by Joanne

Topics: Leadership

Thank YouGratitude is one of the most overlooked qualities of a good leader.

In church the other day, our Priest asked the congregation, “When was the last time you received something and did not say thank you for it?”.

One of my employees spent countless hours researching materials and building financial projections for a project we were running. Late on a Friday afternoon, I sent her a text message. Now, if your boss reaches out to you late on Friday afternoon, your first thought is “Oh no! Now she is going to give me work to do. Should I answer her?” But that wasn’t what I was after — I had good news for her. I wanted to tell her what an excellent job she’d done, and the results of all her work were that we were going to get the funding we needed to do the project. In other words, I wanted to express my gratitude. This is one of the reasons why this woman flat out told me that she didn’t care what assignment I gave her, “as long as I work for you“! Good leaders appreciate their teams, and take the time to tell them so.

My mom just passed away, and this has really made me reassess what is important in life. The number one thing in this world is people, your relationships with others, and how you treat each other. When you hit those low points in your life, it is the people that help keep you going. When you hit the high points, you want to celebrate with other people. It is those average days, though, where we seem to take people for granted.
If you think about it, you can find examples of this every day. When my husband brought me a cup of coffee, my automatic response was to say “thank you”. But when he made dinner the other night, like he does most nights, it didn’t occur to me to thank him. If someone goes out of their way to do something for me, even as simple as holding a door, it is an ingrained habit in me to thank him. However, when that same person performs a set of activities on a regular basis, I take it for granted.

As leaders, it is important to express gratitude for the everyday things. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to do that next favor for you, to work hard on joint projects, to feel good about the work they do. It’s the same with people everywhere: your employees, your customers and your business partners. Think about all they do for you and find a way to express your gratitude — not just for the big things but for all the little things as well.

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