Grateful For Gratitude: November Frontline Festival

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, November’s Frontline Festival is about forms of Gratitude. I am grateful for my amazing colleagues and subscribers for your contributions and comments. Please comment at the bottom of this post, as we celebrate our gratitude together: What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?

How to Give Thanks and Praise

Frank SonnenbergFrank Sonnenberg Online, offers Ways to Say You Care There are many ways to say that you care. This free, downloadable poster provide some clever examples. Follow Frank @FSonnenberg.

Matt McWilliams, Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way, brings us How to Write a Thank You Note  The title says it all. Some people are intimidated by writing great thank you notes…but Matt will show you how. In fact, Matt is offering a free ebook on Gratitude. Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2.

Dan McCarthy, Great Leadership, shares 10 Questions and Answers for Managers about Praise  “Praise is one of the most misunderstood, powerful, and underutilized management skills. This post is a reenactment of an actual coaching conversation I had with a manager who sincerely wanted to learn how to praise but didn’t have a clue how to do it.” I love this practical and useful list. Follow Dan @greatleadership.

Tanveer NaseerTanveer Naseer Leadership brings us, How Two Simple Words Can Energize Your Team and Grow Your Business “Research has shown that expressing gratitude is not only a nice thing to do, but that it can fuel employee motivation and drive organizational growth.” Follow Tanveer @TanveerNaseer.

New to the festivalJulie Pierce, Empowered by Pierce, offers  5 Simple Ways to Thank Your Team People are blown away by simple expressions of praise, affirmation and gratitude. This post offers five simple ways to thank your hard-working team. Follow Julie @julie_pierce

David Dye, Trailblaze, brings us, Do They Know? If you lead to bring out the best (not wring out the worst), David suggests that everyone is a volunteer and everything your team does is a gift to be received with gratitude. Follow David @davidmdye.

The State of Gratitude

Mary Jo Asmus,Mary Jo Asmus, shares Being in a state of gratitude Some thoughts on the difference between “thanks” and “gratitude”. My favorite line, “Gratitude requires presence and vigilance to notice.” Follow Mary Jo @mjasmus.

Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership, brings us Say “Thank-you” Gratitude is the secret of a happy life. Follow Wally @Wally BockGratitude copy

Joy and Tom GuthrieVizwerx Group, LLC share their wonderful strategic art (right).

Greg Marcus, The Idol Buster shares Be Grateful for the Good and the Bad  Gratitude in times of trouble brings strength, and puts energy towards the solution. I enjoyed the powerful and poignant stories he shares. Follow Greg @gregmarcus2.

Mike Henry Sr, of Lead Change Group offers Gratitude for Weakness Four ideas about how weaknesses make me humble and a better team member. Mike shares a beautiful exercise worth trying this Thanksgiving. Follow Mike @mikehenrysr

Lisa Kohn, of Thoughtful Leaders Blog, brings us I don’t have to be grateful after today…do I? “Drivenness can work against us, where nothing is quite good enough and we’re never satisfied. Lisa offers thoughts and ideas for keeping the Thanks-giving spirit alive even after the holiday is over. Follow Lisa @ThoughtfulLdrs.

Carrie Koens, Carrie’s Busy Nothings, shares Three Years of Thankfulness  “Looking back over 3 years of daily thankfulness, and how it has changed my outlook and my life.” I invited Carrie to join this festival because I’m always inspired by how she shares her gratitude, daily, through social media. Follow Carrie @CGKoens.

Alli Polin, Break the Frame, shares  Ditch the Stress; Choose Gratitude  She shares how 5 minutes can change your frame around gratitude. Follow Alli @AlliPolin

Also a new to the Festival, Regina Verow, Creatively Conscious, shares How To Change The World One Tiny Step At A Time She shares fantastic suggestions on how each us can make a real difference in the world, including “radical gratitude.” Follow Regina @reginaverow

Grateful For Work

Jennifer Miller, The People Equation, shares My At-Work Gratitude List This post puts a spin on the tried-and-true Gratitude List – by bringing it into the workplace. What are you grateful for at work? Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller

Julie Winkle Giulioni, Julie Winkle Giulioni, brings us Context Changes Everything This post starts with gratitude and moves on to discuss how when employees understand the bigger context of the workplace, it can change everything – from how they work to how they feel about their work. Follow Julie @julie_wg

Cheri Essner, Cheri’s Blog, shares, My Project Management Sermon “Why PM resonates to me as a global way of renewing empowerment around the world through the use of our practice.” Follow Cheri @cheriessner

Jon Mertz, Thin Difference, offers Democracy: 5 Ways You Can Make It More Meaningful  “Our democracy gives us so much to be grateful for and, in our gratitude, comes a responsibility to do more and participate in meaningful ways.” Follow Jon @ThinDifference

Family Inspired Stories of Gratitude

John Hunter, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, shares Respect for Everyone, inspired by his Father. “He made a big difference to people by improving the management system within which they worked, but what they remembered was the face to face respect he showed to everyone.” Follow John @curiouscat_com

Kimunya Mugo, Lead By Choice shares Gratitude – a Leader’s Hallmark At three o’clock in the morning, our 4 years old daughter called out, “Daddy, I want to go to the toilet!” I did my daddy duty… When I was done, she cheerily said to me, “Thank you daddy.” A wonderful reminder of the power of the simple acts of gratitude.  Follow Kimunya @KimunyaMugo

Bill Benoist, Leadership Heart Coaching, shares his poignant post Holidays and Family. “I like to keep these weekly posts about career and leadership, but sometimes we need to remember family too, especially around the holiday season. Not only remember our family, but the families of those we work with.” Follow Bill @leadershipheart

gratitudeThe December Frontline Festival is about Gifts and Giving (open to interpretation). Submissions due December 13th. Click here to submit your post.

Gratitude Parade: Great Posts on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, there have been so many great posts on gratitude this month. Today, I offer you links to insights from fellow bloggers on the art of gratitude.

Why Be Grateful?

The Pursuit of Peace: Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle by Andy Tix

Andy Tix shares the positive psychological benefits of gratitude and offers suggestions and examples

“A transformation often occurs when people learn to shift their thoughts from negative to thanksgiving.”

A Slice of Gratitude, by Ryan Setter

Ryan shares how gratitude can be “life changing”

It’s possible for an individual to have spiraled downward into a depression due to a serious lack of appreciation and gratitude. In fact, it’s quite common, and can be quite devastating. Recognizing and being truly grateful for an individuals’ strengths, talents and contributions is sometimes all that it takes to set someone on an upwards path simply by feeling appreciated, feeling that they matter. When someone knows that what they do is important it can be life-changing.

Personal Stories of Gratitude

 A Persistent Feeling of Frailty, By Dan Rockwell

A poignant post by Dan Rockwell, he shares reflections from a year after his serious accident.

“People did things for me that I couldn’t do for myself. I feel the frailty, even now. But there’s more. Gratitude persists. Compassion drips in the back of my mind.

Cancer, Abundance, and the Heart of True Thanksgiving, By Michele Cushatt

Michele Cushatt shares her journey through Cancer and the vital reminders of the power of true Thanksgiving.

“Because Thanksgiving, true Thanksgiving, is pulling up a chair to the table of your life as it is, even with all its struggle and imperfection, and choosing to close your eyes and savor its uncommon, undeserved abundance.”

How to Be Grateful

Thanksgiving: Gratitude Even For the Hard Stuff, By Randy Taran

Randy, shares some approaches for learning from life’s most challenging times.

It can take some time, acceptance and inner stillness to even ask these questions. When we’re caught in the escalating tornado of emotions, it’s hard to have perspective. But by looking back, everything becomes clearer. Clarity gives birth to peace. Another aspect is self-compassion. Consider replacing “If I had only ” with “I did my best under the circumstances.” That’s part of the lesson, too.

On Leadership and Expressing Gratitude, By Aditi Chopra

Aditi Chopra writes “Remember that people, who are constantly expressing gratitude to others, tend to be happier in life. And, it makes them someone worth following ” She shares a useful list of ways to express gratitude:

  • One can express gratitude subtly by returning a favor.
  • A more explicit way of expressing gratitude is to praise someone in public for what they did for you.
  • Giving someone a thoughtful gift or a greeting card is another way to thank them. Putting some thought into what they would like as a gift works wonders.
  • If someone has unconsciously been nice to you because of their very nature, don’t let that go unnoticed. Make sure to mention to them how much you appreciate their giving nature. More importantly, don’t abuse it by taking it for granted.
  • If your mentor spends a lot of time with you in coaching, one way to thank them is by being mindful of how much and what you ask them. Being aware of how much time you ask them to spend with you, you are being respectful and grateful.

I am grateful for these inspiring thought leaders and the insights they offer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Grateful Gone Missing? In Search of Gratitude

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.