Over the last few weeks, I have taken some time to ponder my why and to live fully alive. The funeral or celebration of life for a community leader who died much too young stirred me, leading me to this discernment process. Then, within the next week, another dynamic community leader also died far too young.
They both had a powerful impact on our community because they were clear about their why and fully living into it. I am deeply grateful for their contributions to our community, making it a better place.
I am now sitting with the question: What are each of us called to contribute in making a difference with our gifts and talents? How do we know when we contribute enough? For me, a mindset of gratitude also invites the question of what else?
This is part 1 of the 3-part series on Leading With Gratitude by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Positive behavior depends on a positive mindset, and the cornerstone of it all is gratitude. Click To Tweet
Currently, many would agree that our culture is growing more impatient, self-centered, disrespectful and ungrateful. Some have not noticed, may not be bothered by it, or may be contributing to these disturbing tendencies. Not exactly glowing statements for our times.
I see these attitudes, behaviors and mindsets visible in every corner of the working world, as leaders and organizations struggle to keep their people engaged, loyal, civil, and productive. Employees have no difficulty pinpointing the things that annoy them, while taking little time to reflect and focus on those things that are going well. A displeased and disengaged workforce yields low returns on the skills and experience invested in it.
Traditionally, leaders have been responsible for setting the tone and correcting a culture. However, those who portray disturbing behaviors and mindsets can expect their people to live them out as well. Leaders who exhibit positive behaviors and mindsets make a tremendous difference in how their people respond, relate to each other, and enjoy their work. Positive behavior depends on a positive mindset, and the cornerstone of it all is gratitude.
Gratitude vs. Ingratitude
Gratitude is the appreciation for being a benefactor of something that has made your life, community or world better. Gratitude is thankfulness for what you have, who you are or what opportunities lay before you. It stirs satisfying feelings that are promising, optimistic and calming.
Leaders with gratitude know they’ve been given something from a source bigger than themselves, causing a favorable condition with a lasting effect. This creates a positive mindset that can’t be concealed. That mindset fashions a beneficial outlook, which steers helpful actions. This is the best life enhancing tool for leaders and those they lead.
According to executive coach Christine Comaford in her 2017 Forbes article, Great Leaders have an Attitude of Gratitude – Do You?, a grateful mindset offers leaders a positive emotional reserve that can be tapped when tough situations arise. This is a great tool to thrive under pressure and allow us to overcome challenges. Alternatively, ingratitude leads to negative emotions that drag a spirit down and drain your energy. A negative focus doesn’t inspire satisfaction, ideas, solutions or helpful decisions.
As a grateful leader you see the positive in situations resulting in experiencing less stress and fatigue. This allows you to better focus, have more clarity in reasoning and discernment—a much healthier approach to being a leader. Contrary to this, ungrateful leaders are often burdened with debilitating stress and are more susceptible to burnout. A negative outlook misjudges situations, causing mistakes, missed opportunities and unfortunate responses.
Gratitude often spurs your compassion and kindness toward others. This draws your people to you and forms their loyalty, trust and engagement. People find these qualities difficult to resist. They want to be around a leader like you who’s grateful, and in turn become more grateful themselves. The opposite effect is true for ungrateful leaders: they are hard to deal with. People avoid them and have no desire to know them. Ingratitude spreads like a disease, causing the culture to grow toxic.