5 Crucial Ways your Gratitude impacts your Attitude as a Leader
by Carey Nieuwhof
Ever notice the leaders you’re most attracted to tend to be the most grateful? At least that’s true for me. Grateful leaders make the best leaders. And yet being in leadership can make you ungrateful…quickly. You feel a pressure few others feel and have responsibilities that will never fit into a job description. You carry a weight around with you wherever you go. It can wear you down. One of the disciplines I’ve had as a leader is learning how to become grateful and stay grateful. Sometimes the best way for me to do that is to remind myself why grateful leaders make the best leaders.
Here are 5 reasons why that’s true.
1. YOUR OVERALL GRATITUDE IMPACTS YOUR OVERALL ATTITUDE
A grateful leader tends to be a great leader. An ungrateful leader, well, never is. I find when my gratitude is high, I just lead better. I’m kinder and more compassionate. I’m less resentful and I’m less suspicious. Your overall gratitude impacts your overall attitude. So be grateful.
2. A GRATEFUL LEADER SEES OPPORTUNITIES OTHERS MISS
I believe a grateful attitude is tied to an abundance mentality. I’m a firm believer in abundance thinking. Why? If we have a God who created everything we see out of nothing and who rose after he died, he can accomplish anything—through me, without me and in spite of me. If he uses me…wow…that’s amazing! Being grateful for what you have is tied, in a meaningful way, to thinking abundantly about the future. Again…why? Well, an ungrateful mind tends to translate what hasn’t happened into what can’t happen, what won’t happen and what will never happen. A grateful mind thinks about everything that happened, gives thanks, and trust that even greater things can happen, will happen and should happen. A grateful leader will almost always find the path to an abundant future. And, for the ‘realists’ out there, you think feeling grateful won’t change anything? Few people said it better than Henry Ford when he said, “Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t, you’re right.” As a leader, what you think determines what you do.
3. GRATITUDE FUELS GENEROSITY
I learned this principle years ago from Andy Stanley. Nothing fuels generosity more than gratitude. Think about it. If someone’s given you anything (cash, a gift, their time), nothing makes that person want to give again quite like gratitude. Similarly, if you’re thankful for the time you’ve spent together, they’ll want to get together again. If you’re not, they won’t. Ditto with giving to a church or organization. Leaders who are genuinely grateful for whatever they receive tend to be surrounded by people who want to give more. Ungrateful leaders are soon surrounded by non-givers or, ultimately, by no one.
4. TEAMS GRAVITATE TOWARD GRATITUDE
Your team gravitates toward gratitude. Far too many people despise their work because they feel underappreciated. You should always pay people well—as generously as you can in fact. But even money has its limits. Eventually, you can’t pay people enough to overcome an ungenerous spirit. I’ve known people who have taken pay cuts because they would rather work for someone who was grateful than for an ungrateful leader. Leaders, remember: gratitude is the greatest currency with which a leader can pay a team. And, when it comes to volunteers, gratitude is pretty much all your volunteers run on. The best leaders realize that even their employees are, at their core, volunteers. Every capable person could work somewhere else.
5. GRATITUDE NEUTRALIZES YOUR ANGER AND JEALOUSY
Grateful people are rarely angry. And angry people are rarely grateful. Ditto with jealous people. Cultivating gratitude will make you far less angry (you’ll realize no one owes you anything) and it will make you far less jealous (because you’ll realize God has given you what you need). Want to be far less angry and jealous? Stay on your knees long enough to be grateful.
I’M A LOT MORE GRATEFUL THESE DAYS
Wish you felt more grateful? So did I 15 years ago as I got closer and closer to burnout. But I learned to deal with the things that cap a leader’s potential or even take leaders out, things like cynicism, compromise, pride, emptiness, burnout and more: the issues almost everyone struggles with and no one expects. Coming out on the other side, I’m so grateful and feel so much better. And I think that journey is possible for anyone (and everyone). I tackle seven key issues every leader eventually encounters in my best-selling book, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.
I not only outline how each of the seven challenges shows up in your life, I show you how to combat them and beat them. There’s an antidote to each of the seven and some very practical steps you can take so issues like cynicism, pride, irrelevance and emptiness no longer define your present or your future. And once you’ve burned out, you don’t need to stay burned out. You can thrive again, and I show you how. You can pick up your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here (hardcover, AudioBook or Kindle) and once again (or for the first time) discover how to thrive in life leadership.
WHAT MAKES YOU GRATEFUL?
What helps you cultivate gratitude? I’d love to hear from you. How does gratitude impact your leadership? I wrote this post on 5 things that make me more grateful when I’m feeling ingratitude. I’d love to hear your perspective. Scroll down and leave a comment.
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