Leadership is the deliberate and conscientious practice of an attitude of gratitude. A genuine thankfulness ought to be the guiding light of our leadership journey.
As a leader, in any capacity — professionally, at home, or in your community — one of your chief responsibilities is making your people, your teams, your family, feel truly valued. These people in your life, need to know from you, that without them, your company, your team, your family, and frankly you would be worse off.
This is why Thanksgiving is such a special time. It’s a time to pause, reflect, and reset our attitude of gratitude. And while Thanksgiving is indeed special, the Thanksgiving season should merely be the frosting on the cake of a year-long practice of an attitude of gratitude.
Take the opportunity this Thanksgiving to kick start or reinvigorate the practice of an attitude of gratitude in your leadership journey.
As a legacy leader, follow this 4 steps to an extraordinary thank you:
1. Handwrite your thank you - Verbal affirmation is important and don’t ever stop verbally thanking the people you lead and the people who are meaningful in your life. An email thank you is always nice, and is great for a regular atta-boy or expressing thanks in a given moment.
As a leader though, regularly go above and beyond — a handwritten note makes your thank you indelible and extraordinary.
2. Be specific with your thanks - Instead of the generic ‘thanks for all you do’ show your people a more deep rooted gratitute and be specific. For example, ‘I really appreciate how you treated our client with care and concern when you did an onsite visit to troubleshoot their situation.’
‘I really appreciate that you're the person on our team who makes sure we are hearing from the people closest to the problem. You are an exemplary collaborator’
‘I am so impressed that you are an expert on the topic of [insert their specialty here]. I appreciate your knowledge and your commitment to always learning more about this topic; you’re invaluable to our team and the success of our company.’
Whatever it is, specifically, you appreciate about that person, tell them that specific thing.
As a leader, being specific in your gratitude helps to reinforce the behaviors you want to see in the people you lead and it encourages those people to want to grow in those specific areas on their own because you noticed.
3. Enlist their help to develop and leverage their unique skills - The beauty of being specific with your gratitude, is you can then ask them how they can use that specific thing you appreciate about them more.
For example, ‘Jill you’re amazing at client relations. I’d love for you to tell me how you want to use that skill more to help our team succeed.’
4. Actually follow-up - After you enlist their help on how you can develop them on your team, follow-up with them to actually hear their ideas of what they want to contribute.
For example, ‘I appreciate how you have a knack for communicating the heartfelt stories of how we help our customers. I’d love for you to tell me how you want to do that more to help our team succeed. I truly want you to think about this and take it to heart because I want to meet with you in 3 weeks to hear your ideas. I value your opinion.’
So after you recover from your Thanksgiving dinner coma, resolve that you will follow these steps to a meaningful thank you and handwrite 5 thank-you-notes by the end of the month.
If you really want to practice an attitude of gratitude, I encourage you to put on your calendar to write at least 5 of these thank-yous every month this upcoming year because without these people, your life would not be as good. And life is too short not to tell them that.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
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