Gratitude Leadership


(By Buzz Knight) Finding personal satisfaction and a sense of overall happiness can be an incredibly difficult thing. Even in a non-pandemic moment there are days that pass where this sense of well being is elusive.

As you consider ways for you to personally be in a better space, consider also how happiness factors into your style of leadership management. What you project defines part of your style and how your message is received.

Even with virtual management being a new normal, when you sign on to your morning stand up with a scowl on your face from a bad night of sleep, there’s no doubt you are sending the wrong message to the troops.

Some months ago I was fortunate to take a course via Coursera called The Science of Well Being taught by Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos. During the course Laurie brought up the importance of gratitude as one of the cornerstones of happiness and well being and I couldn’t help wonder whether this is a missing link that the leadership of today should consider.

Her view is that happy people are:

Socially connected and they spend time with others. They prioritize connection. They also don’t focus on themselves as they are “others oriented”. They are grateful and they look for good as they have a mindset of gratitude. They find three to five things they are grateful for everyday.

I started to wonder if some of Laurie’s priorities from the course, especially gratitude were an opportunity for leaders to improve their teams and the entire organization. In thinking about gratitude at the core of happiness, how can this permeate all employees?

Do you actively keep note of things to be grateful for as a leader? Certainly your current employer is a good place to start being thankful for. Times are challenging and the fact they have hung in with you means a lot.

When you consider the employees you manage are you going out of your way being as Laurie put it to be ”others oriented” and acknowledge great work? Do you consider the work of all departments during this difficult time and express appreciation for the good work being done?

This all sounds easy but it really takes individual focus.

As Seth Godin put it on January 10, 2017, “entitlement gets us nothing but heartache. It blinds us to what’s possible. It insulates us from the magic of gratitude. Gratitude, on the other hand is just as valid a choice. Except that gratitude makes us open to possibility. It brings us closer to others. And it makes us happier.”

Now is a good time to consider adding gratitude to your leadership toolbox.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]



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