Gratitude is one of the most under-used leadership competencies yet we know how motivating and empowering it can be. Showing appreciation for the contributions of others has been closely linked to increased employee engagement and retention. Competent leaders know that expressing gratitude is important for personal and professional reasons. Personally, by spending time being thankful for what we have, we harness the ability to feel good and appreciate our lives as they are. Professionally, gratitude allows you to recognize the contributions of others, which are often overlooked in the day-to-day scramble for results. As we enter the holiday season we are more inclined to power down professionally and ramp up personally so how do you tap into an attitude of gratitude?
Practicing gratitude requires staying in the moment and being intentional about your thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s a habit that needs to be cultivated on a daily and weekly basis. One-way to do this is to start or end your day with 5-10 minutes of gratitude. Jotting down 2-3 things you are grateful for can help you stay focused on what is working and not dwell on what isn’t. Human beings function more optimally when we can experience gratitude mentally and physically. Physical benefits include stress relief and lower blood pressure. Mental benefits include enhanced well-being and positive affect. It is equally important to share our gratitude with others who make it possible. Thanking friends, family and colleagues for what they do to make your life more productive and enjoyable is important for their own well-being. Consciously, making time for gratitude is a win-win proposition both personally and professionally.