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How to Lead with Gratitude

For many business leaders, the approach of the holiday season and end of the year is a time to reflect and give thanks. Expressing gratitude for employees, vendors and customers isn’t something just reserved for this time of year, however. Follow these tips to make leading through gratitude a habit that will carry your business through the entire year.

Add Gratitude to Feedback

As you already know, employees need frequent, specific feedback to grow. Preface this kind of feedback with a word of thanks for a specific contribution the employee has made to the company. This builds trust and camaraderie and allows the employee to be more receptive to feedback.

Make Gratitude Routine

Remind yourself to thank your employees regularly. Set an alert on your calendar to thank people, keep a list of each employee’s qualities and achievements for annual reviews, and make a note of how each employee has positively affected you.

Express Gratitude in Private or in Public (But Not Offhand)

Don’t waste your gratitude with a casual “thanks.” Depending on the situation, either sit down with the employee and give your most sincere thanks in private, or publicly acknowledge the contribution in front of the team. Improving the team’s morale starts with you; the more you thank your employees for their work, the more likely they will be to share this spirit of gratitude in their own relationships with coworkers.

Write Thank You Notes

Nothing beats a handwritten thank note. Emails and texts don’t really convey gratitude quite the same way as a personal note. Whenever an employee accomplishes something that really helped you or the business, take a few moments to write a thank you card and maybe include a gift card to a nearby coffee shop to show the person that you really appreciate them.



Be a Mentor

Even if there aren’t a lot of opportunities for promotions within your business, take the initiative to invest in employees’ professional development. Look to fill your team’s knowledge or skill gaps and commit to listening to their challenges and goals. Take it upon yourself to personally see to their growth as a way of giving back.

Reflect on the Positive

All businesses experience hardship. Don’t focus on the losses. These will only drag the entire team down. Instead, take a few minutes each day to identify three things for which you are thankful. Make note of these in a journal or a mobile app. Share the business’ wins with the team at monthly meetings and turn the negatives into an opportunity for improvement.

Leaders that practice gratitude every day will find more fulfillment both professionally and personally. An attitude of thanks creates a supportive environment in which each employee feels valued.  Take this season to refocus your business leadership priorities on gratitude and see what a difference it makes in your business culture.

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