Dare yourself to try a “gratitude challenge” this month. You’ll be in good company with great leaders who know the awesome power of gratitude!
Throughout November, Real Simple Magazine invites you to participate in a gratitude challenge and “practice cultivating a spirit of gratitude in our daily lives — not just on the one day when turkey is served.”
Every weekday in November leading up to Thanksgiving, Real Simple will “prompt readers via social media to say a thoughtful, unique thank-you to people who have made a difference in their lives.” You can play along with the Real Simple Gratitude Challenge on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Gratitude journaling is also encouraged as a way to record and focus our private thoughts of gratitude.
There are plenty of reasons to begin a daily practice of gratitude. As Real Simple points out in the article, “6 Surprising Reasons Why Gratitude Is Great for Your Health,” you’ll feel happier, have more energy, be more resilient and get healthier.
Your improved kindness will also improve your relationships.
“People can’t help but pay gratitude forward,” writes Real Simple’s Louisa Kamps.
Even though the gratitude challenge ultimately has personal benefits, Kamps cautions against viewing it as “just one more self-improvement project.” It’s an opportunity to focus on others and the above-and-beyond things they’ve done for you.
A gratitude challenge is a fantastic way to focus and refine your leadership skills. Read on to find out why successful, well-loved leaders everywhere practice daily gratitude.
Gratitude Challenge: So What’s The Big Deal?
Gratitude is freeing
When we practice gratitude, we crowd out ungrateful emotions like fear, entitlement, envy, blame and anger.
“Gratitude sets you free,” writes Dan Rockwell in his Leadership Freak blog post, “The Five Freedoms of Gratitude.”
“Unthankful leaders repel healthy followers and attract the ungrateful,” he explains, because ingratitude, “is bondage to offense, disappointments and dissatisfaction.”
The freedom to fail is one of the most important freedoms of gratitude. “People in thankful cultures dare to try and fail. Those who can’t fail never give their best,” Rockwell writes.
Gratitude promotes employee happiness
Gratitude breeds success through employee happiness.
Just look at Google. The company leads many best-place-to-work lists, is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and is listed at #3 on Forbes’ list of “Worlds Most Valuable Brands.”
Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page puts a high value on conveying gratitude. Harvard Business Review recently quoted Page on his approach to leadership.
“My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society,” Page said.
Google’s success and its focus on gratitude are no coincidence. “Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals,” writes Harvard Business Review’s Christine M. Riordan.
Gratitude is bonding
Leadership coach and Lead From Within blogger Lolly Daskal has a great post on the difference between compliments and gratitude. It highlights the power of a robust culture of gratitude compared to a compliment-oriented culture that focuses on “generic acknowledgement.”
Compliments create an emotional distance between the giver and receiver because they’re impersonal. Gratitude, in contrast, is the why behind a compliment and is often very personal.
“Gratitude goes beyond the compliment to the intangible — why you are thankful for the completed task or the compelling presentation [of] the personal effect the tangible act had on you,” Daskal writes.
“People are always glad to have their work acknowledged, but to know that it matters makes it more meaningful,” she writes.
In this way, she says, gratitude creates a bond.
Be a better leader
[Tweet “Gratitude is hard work until you realize the value of those around you. — Dan Rockwell”]
Great leaders seek to break down personal barriers between employees and management by fostering a “We’re-In-This-Together” attitude. Challenge yourself to make gratitude a daily practice. You’ll find yourself being a better leader, day by day.
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
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