This month many folks I know are participating in the Facebook Daily Gratitude Challenge. They are posting “something for which they are truly grateful” each day.
My friend Lisa wrote, “I am grateful for gratitude.”
Ah, I thought, now that is something to consider.
What is grateful?
What does it mean to be truly grateful?
How does gratitude change us?
Why must leaders be grateful?
What are you most grateful for?
As leaders, we spend much time on “thanks for passing the gravy” kind of thanks.
- …thanks for this report
- …thanks for the update
- …thanks for coming to work on time
- …thanks for returning my call
- …thanks for dinner
Those courtesies are important and necessary. But they are not gratitude.
Most organizations also do a pretty good job with formal recognition— taking time to determine who deserves the plaque and celebration. These ceremonies can surely come from a place of deep gratitude, but not necessarily. Often, they are based on numbers and rankings. Gratitude doesn’t come from spreadsheets.
Gratitude involves a deeper pause of true thanksgiving. I see this missing at many levels in organizations.
Grateful is missing when,
an executive hears a presentation and immediately responds with questions, concerns, critiques and challenges, without a pause to consider the depth and breadth of work entailed, the long hours, and the creative thinking.
a middle manager is frustrated in his current role, but overlooks his long career of exciting challenges and developmental experiences
a team leader acknowledges the team’s steady progress, but fails to understand the deep personal sacrifices of her team
a team member resents the promotion of a coworker, and overlooks all the ways he has grown himself in the past year
an employee didn’t receive the same tee-shirt as the guy in the next cube, and overlooks all the ways her family is benefiting from her job
a volunteer feels slighted by a decision, and misses the magic of being part of something important in the community
Thanks and recognition are about the receiver. As leaders, it is our job to say thank you and recognize good work.
Gratitude is also about the giver. Gratitude can transform our leadership.