Gratitude is a powerful underused tool in a leader’s arsenal. By Priya Prakasan
One of the most magnetic traits of a great leader is gratitude. When a leader embraces gratitude and makes a slight change in his or her leadership style, the team gravitates toward optimism and positivity, resulting in resilience, employee engagement and increased productivity. Here are some ways you can become a better leader with gratitude.
1. Personalise it
How you show your appreciation matter as much as the appreciation itself. Acknowledge that people have their own preferences. While someone might like to be recognised in public, another person might like it in a one-on-one setting with room for feedback, suggestions on further improvement, etc. By tailoring your method to their preferences you are adding value and showing that you care about them. By making it more personalised you’re sending a message that this is more than just a slap on the back, the extra efforts shows the value you place on this interaction. This will make employees will feel valued and increase their engagement and productivity as they will be motivated to do better.
2. Be more receptive to feedback
When expressing gratitude don’t always expect an overwhelming response. Or else you’re likely to be frustrated when you don’t get the kind of response you’re expecting. Not everyone will react the same way. And there are multiple reasons why your appreciation might be met with an underwhelmed response. One of the most common reasons is that the other person thinks you’re playing lip service, that you don’t genuinely mean what you say. So ensure you’re using a genuine approach. Pay attention to the language you use. And keep yourself open to hearing what the other person has to say. Is there any feedback they wish to give? A concern they want to share? Ensure it’s a two-way communication.
3. Use the right language
Language is a powerful tool for communication and self-expression and for leaders it is also an important part of how they build and maintain influence. So when you communicate, pay attention to your language, keeping in mind that your words can have a profound effect on the people in your organisation. Your words, tone, body language, etc will convey how genuine or fake your appreciation is. It will determine how your employees perceive you. So pay attention to the language you use, not just when showing appreciation, but also during everyday conversations so that it’s a cumulative effect. It will ring false if you general deride an employee, and decide to show appreciation out of the blue.
4. Cultivate an effective gratitude habit
Gratitude too can be cultivated just like other habits. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine. Developing this daily discipline will help you demonstrate optimism and mental acuity. It will also help you better cope with stress, as well as increase productivity, self-worth and self-esteem. To cultivate gratitude, you can journal every day to jot down what you are grateful for, create a gratitude bulletin board and practice it with your family and friends.
5. Express sincere appreciation
One of the most valuable skills of leadership communication is the ability and willingness to express sincere appreciation. Always pay attention to your communication pattern, authenticity should be of paramount importance. An emotionally intelligent leader uses thankfulness to inspire others and this simple act can have a profound positive effect.
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