3 Tips For Leaders to Cultivate Gratitude
It has been quite the year. Nothing could have prepared us for what we have all been faced with.
Entering 2020, plans had been made whether organizational, professional, or personal. In a blink of an eye- Poof! Those plans evaporated being replaced with a foreign and highly contagious virus that was taking the world to its knees. As a human race, we were battling against something invisible, ominous, dangerous, and sometimes life destroying.
Overnight, humans around the world were activated in a couple ways. One, to immediately stay home, shelter in place, schools closed, workplaces pivoted to working from home, some workplaces closed their doors preparing for this ‘storm’, and travel all but stopped. The world went silent. Kind of. On the other side of the coin, workers considered ‘essential’ to our existence which we quickly learned were ‘first responders’, those in the retail, trucking, telecommunications and media were activated to be on the ‘front-line’ protecting and providing those at home with the basics to survive. People lost loved ones to the Coronavirus, cancer, heart-attacks, homicide, suicide, substance abuse and other things that are not included here.
Only a few could have predicted this situation (and did) but there was nothing to prepare for the urgency that was called for in a manner of weeks to shift from one vision, to a new ‘reality’ that we’ve all learned to navigate in one way or another over the past eight months.
Upon entering the holiday season, I am struck with where we are today and also look ahead into 2021 with a sense of wonder. As a leader in the world, I have more passion and clarity about the significant responsibility we carry for ourselves and for others. Strong leadership is needed now more than ever to help pave the way for recovery; supporting people as they let go of the fear many experienced and may still be experiencing as a result of the pandemic, social unrest and political tension.
As a leader, one important way to pave the path to recovery, is to cultivate and generously demonstrate gratitude to others.
Why is gratitude so important as a leader?
According to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., who has spent years researching the positive impact of gratitude on physical health, psychological well-being and relationships with others, gratitude is a social emotion. As such, when one looks for gratitude, there is affirmation of goodness in the world. When one expresses or receives gratitude, there is a social and emotional connection in the relationship. Additionally, gratitude allows us to celebrate the present which magnifies positive emotions.
As we head toward the end of the year, into the holiday season, and look to 2021, Fahrenheit Advisors wanted to provide you with these…
3 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude:
1. Commit to the practice
Research shows that making a commitment to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude commitment, which could be as simple as “I commit to finding three things I am grateful for each day.” Post your commitment somewhere where you will be reminded of it each day.
2. Express Gratitude to Those in Your Life and yourself daily
Who in your life do you consider:
- Your ‘supporting cast’? This group could be your local grocery clerk, mail person, child’s teacher, home care worker, first responder, etc. Anyone in your life that is an extension of you and ensures your needs are supported could help you follow through.
- Your ‘main cast’? Who continues to believe in your gifts and invite you to grow? This group could consist of partners, children, parents, friends, professional co-workers, mentors, clients, customers, and others.
Taking time to notice and express gratitude to yourself and those in your life will allow those people to be ‘seen’ and will form and deepen your connection and relationships with others.
3. Schedule Time & Journal What and Who You are Grateful For
Studies show that by scheduling a few minutes into each day to write down what you are grateful for, you are more likely to follow through. Personally, I have made gratitude a part of my morning routine. As the sun comes up and before I ‘jump’ into the day, I will take a few minutes to notice what is around me, think through the day before and the day to come. This practice has reminded me what I am grateful for and to express it to others.
Gratitude is a practice that is not leveraged enough in our personal lives let alone our professional lives. Practicing gratitude has the power to ‘lift’ things up and cause us to see things in a different and more positive perspective. It creates a centered self-awareness, deeper connections, relationships and contributes to employee engagement and empowerment.
Yes, we have had quite the year. Some would say a ‘dark’ year. And yet, as a leader we have the power and responsibility to create a vision of what is possible, shedding a brighter light on being grateful.
Why not get started right away? If you could tell one person you are grateful for, who would it be and why?
About the Author
Joan Hibdon builds and maintains strong relationships with Fahrenheit’s clients by connecting with all of the relevant human aspects of business. Her expertise includes coaching, consulting, and providing learning and development services focused on cultivating leadership and creating extraordinary employee experiences in public, private and nonprofit organizations. She is also adept at converting strategy into practical applications and guiding companies through change management initiatives to achieve organizational success.