Would you be surprised to learn that embracing gratitude as part of your leadership toolbox can have lasting benefits for your effectiveness and that of your team and organization?
Most of us don’t think about gratitude very often – if at all – in the workplace. Instead, we tend to relegate giving thanks to our holiday traditions and perhaps a sporadic journal entry or two.
But research shows that gratitude has the same power to transform our experience and perspective at the office it does in other areas of our lives. Embracing gratitude as a daily part of your leadership can not only make you feel better, it can make you more effective too.
Don’t believe me? Here are three surprising ways gratitude will make you a better leader.
Improved Energy and Productivity
As anyone who has embraced gratitude practices in their personal life will tell you, reflecting on your blessings changes your perspective. This shift in perspective yields tangible results. People who regularly practice gratitude report seeing a wide variety of benefits from these practices, including improved sleep, more happiness, and better self-esteem.
When applied in the workplace, these same practices can not only help us feel better – they keep us energized and motivated. By focusing on what we have to be thankful for, rather than ongoing problems and undone tasks, we can build a sense of accomplishment and momentum that can carry us through more difficult tasks. This effect is compounded when supervisors also express their thanks for employees’ contributions.
Improved Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to challenging or difficult circumstances and it is a crucial skill for successful leaders, especially in the current environment. Perhaps no single practice can improve your emotional resilience quite as much as gratitude.
Gratitude practices require that we consciously and repeatedly shift our focus to the positive, regardless of the situation. As a result, we build the muscles necessary for emotional resilience. We learn that we have the power to choose our perspective. We become good at exercising that choice. And over time, we begin to reap the rewards of a calmer, more positive outlook.
Almost all of us associate strong leadership with a sense of humble confidence. Leaders are who are lacking in confidence, or who tip the scale too far the other way and come off as arrogant, have a much harder time motivating and inspiring their teams than the calm, confident leader.
One path to building this type of confidence is gratitude. Reminding ourselves of the people who have helped up along the way can help us take the focus off of ourselves in important ways. It can remind us of the contributions others have made to our success and inspire us to offer the same assistance and support to those around us. Watching those we help grow, develop, and succeed on their own fuels the kind of satisfaction and confidence that the best leaders seek to foster.
Gratitude is much more than a trite ritual that we unpack once a year. When implemented consistently and regularly, it has almost magical powers. Whether you’re looking to improve your sleep, boost your confidence, or become more emotionally resilient, a gratitude practice may be just the thing you need as a leader.