Corporate cheerleader Ron Carucci offers pointers on how to throw off the illusion of individual achievement and be grateful for your team.
Get your “gratitude mojo” back. Remember when you were a kid and so grateful because somebody did you a small kindness? Don’t let the cynical world take that away, and don’t let yourself take great employees or customers for granted.
Run inventory on things you’re grateful for. As self-sufficient as you may feel, you’d never be where you are without champions who helped you. Oprah Winfrey once had a lot of people keeping gratitude journals; sounds corny but it increased the general happiness. If you think people should just be thankful that they have a job, or if it’s hard for you to list what you’re grateful for, you should worry.
Pay it forward. You’ll never be able to repay the people who helped you along the way, so help others get ahead. You have plenty to offer.
Learn from tragedy. Did you miss the funeral of a colleague’s parent and never understand what that meant until your own parent died? Learn how to be there for your team.
Show curiosity about others’ work. One of the most stirring questions a leader can ask: “Can you tell me how you did that?” People are proud of their work, and when you honor it, that shows you care about them and will take the time to affirm their contributions.
Help build a community. Beyond the work schedule, maintain social rituals that regularly bring people together. These events should be simple but fun. If the group gets bored and wants to change, let it.
Notice what you notice. Even better, notice what you don’t notice. Even top leaders miss important ways to show gratitude. If your eyes are trained not to see something that you obviously should appreciate, retrain your lines of sight. Acknowledge those who go above and beyond the call of duty, even when they’ve done it for so many years that you don’t notice it anymore. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
—Adapted from Leadership Divided, Ron Carucci, Jossey-Bass.
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