Supercharge your leadership by fostering gratefulness
If you did a fully anonymous 360 review and all those who report to you, and your peers, completed the survey, would they all say “wow, she is the most exciting and engaged leader I have ever worked for or known”? OK, so very few leaders would achieve this level and yet, those of us who take up the mantle of leadership want our team to passionately follow our lead and bring energy to our mission.
The mountain of material on leadership is impressive. There certainly is no shortage of research, scholarly writing, and opinion writing on the topic. I applaud those of you who are willing to be in the arena of leadership and who regularly read and apply the latest thinking to your craft. Leadership is personal! Leadership can be bloody. Oh, you know what I mean, people judge your every move, they critique your words, your tone, how you walk, who you spend time with, who you do not spend time with, how you present in public, the cleanliness of your desk, so on and so on. So why face all of that? Why lead?
“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” ~ Simon Sinek
For some of us, it is our calling, our destiny, what we were designed to do. For some, it has been thrust upon them; and, for others, it is an expectation by people in their lives (family, spouses, bosses, etc.). No matter why you are in the arena if you have chosen to lead and have now read this far in the blog… you are seeking to do it well. I want to encourage you to be AWESOME! I land on the side of the argument that leaders are not simply born, although some are. Most have to learn it and it can be learned. Through my studies (Doctorate in Strategic Leadership) and my life experience leading for more than 25 years, I have come to believe that one of the most powerful ingredients of super leaders is their deep sense of gratefulness for those who choose to follow.
Fostering gratefulness is a purposeful activity that will supercharge your leadership! The gratefulness I am speaking of is an authentic gratefulness for those who report to you, your peers, and the organization as a whole. A truly authentic sense of appreciation for others is sadly rare and yet remarkably powerful. We all have a natural want/need to be appreciated. We all also have the ability to understand if we are authentically appreciated. Sure a leader can fake it for a while and put out lots of words and actions that point to appreciation but over time the authenticity shows itself one way or another. It is clear; people will expend extreme energy toward accomplishing the vision of a leader who shows true authentic gratefulness for them. So, how do you foster this powerful capability?
Here are several actions that will help you foster gratefulness:
- Pause daily to place your team in your heart (move from head to heart).
- Lead often with your heart rather than your head.
- Realize (at least in most democratic societies) that everyone who works for your organization does so voluntarily.
- Accept that we all (including you) are a work in progress.
- Openly and often communicate your appreciation for their time, effort, application of talent, care for others, care for the cause, etc.
The power is in your heart. If you are truly grateful for those around you, it changes how you act, how you communicate, and most importantly the energy you project. Everyone feels it, even if they cannot understand or communicate what they feel.
Supercharge your leadership with authentic gratefulness!
D. Shawn Wolf, DSL | Outside-Force BDF