The Power of Gratitude

It is so easy to underestimate the power of gratitude, we get busy. Colleagues and team members are doing the job they are paid to do, no one thanked us so why should I get out and thank them?

I had a colleague who made a practice of starting meetings by recognising a peer for their contribution and how they had helped. The impact was hugely positive and infectious as others started taking on the same practice. In this DIGEST article we look at some of the most recent contributions on the power of gratitude and how leaders should approach it.

It is an easy trap and one that can have a dramatic impact on your teams performance as Angel Kambouris explains “Gratitude builds relationships. Employee recognition and appreciation creates a company culture that strengthens relationships. On the other hand, we know the opposite to be true when leaders don’t recognise their staff going above and beyond their responsibilities, engagement plummets.”

Kambouris has a number of practices she recommends that leaders implement to amplify their gratefulness.

  1. Cultivate gratitude into a habit – you may need to start with a daily reminder to build this into your routine
  2. Personalise your appreciation when you are engaged with people (more on this below from Skip Prichard)
  3. Take an authentic approach to expressing gratitude – tokenism kills any benefit.
  4. Count your own blessings – Gratitude fuels potential and transforms perspective. “When you are grateful for what you have, the immediate response is a deep sense of appreciation. Our standards are upgraded and our energy prioritized into contribution”.
  5. Recognise that gratitude has health and wellbeing benefits
  6. Recognise that everyone has a deep seated need to feel valued and appreciated
  7. Lead by example – you know it starts with you.

Gratitude is a selfless act. Action taken unconditionally shows people they are appreciated, and it becomes infectious. It’s a sign of wisdom and maturity and an ingrained hallmark of humility.

Angela Kambouris

Gratitude Facilitates Trust and Trust is Central to Leadership

Gratitude is a conscious choice that you make as an individual and as a leader, it builds bonds and even has the power to heal rifts. Skip Prichard writes that gratitude is best when it is:

Specific. There are occasions when thanking a large group is appropriate, but it is also much more effective to praise specific individuals and recognise specific actions.

Authentic. Regardless of how it is expressed, it must be authentic. “I’ve seen one leader who can get the message across with a fist bump. Another with a yell from the podium. The key is that the leader is expressing thanks authentically.”

Timely.  Don’t wait, a late thank you loses most of its power.

Unexpected. When the surprise is unexpected the effect is amplified, consider how your gratitude can have an incredible impact.

Sincere. When a leader is giving thanks out of obligation or part of a process, it loses all power.

Duplicatable. When a leader shows gratitude for specific actions, it encourages others to mirror those actions and grow the effect through the team.

Personalised. Making gratitude personal, is the skill of a refined leader. It requires knowing the person and how they will best respond to praise. “Some people may truly not enjoy public praise. Others relish in it. Targeted gratitude is knowing what works best.”

We cannot underestimate the morale-boosting power of gratitude,” says Adrian Gostick (joint author of Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results) , “A 200,000-person study .. found more grateful managers lead teams with higher overall business metrics including up to two times greater profitability than their peers, an average 20% higher customer satisfaction and significantly higher scores in employee engagement, including vital metrics such as trust and accountability.”

You need five positive interactions to combat the effects of one negative interaction.

Dr. John Gottman – University of Washington 5:1 Rule.

Gratitude Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Both giving and receiving gratitude builds positivity, it keeps unhealthy comparisons at bay and makes you feel good. This can improve your interpersonal life, your professional life and even your health.

The magic of positivity is that it makes you happier in mood and it fertilizes your mind for growth and accomplishment. Positivity makes things possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Gratitude is an essential element in the leaders skillset, but it is not limited to leaders – we all need gratitude and giving it is infectious.
  • The Power of Gratitude is the way it can lift engagement, improve performance and build a team culture with strong bonds.
DIGEST of articles from

How An Attitude Of Gratitude Can Make You A Better Leader
By Roger Dean Duncan
Published: 16th July 2019

Leadership Freak
Gratitude for Leaders: How to Win The Gratitude Battle
By Dan Rockwell
Published: 2nd November 2020

Why Leaders Should Cultivate Gratitude
by Dr Nicole Lipkin
Published: 20th July 2018

Adding Gratitude To Your Leadership
by John Baldoni
Published: 13th March 2020

7 Elements of Leadership Gratitude
by Skip Prichard
Published: 21st November 2018

Thrive Global
Gratitude is a hallmark of wisdom, maturity and humility. 9 Ways for Leaders to Amplify Their Gratitude
by Angela Kambouris
Published: 19th September 2017

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