Thankful Leadership: Four Ideas to Demonstrate Thankfulness Daily
As we look toward the Thanksgiving holiday, I am often reminded of how the actions and spirit of being thankful can be powerful tools for leaders to grow their organizations and develop cultures of consequence. Being thankful is a core value—recognizing your associates and ensuring all know they bring value that you, as the company’s leader, are grateful to have. I have seen a surge in Thanksgiving week LinkedIn post, tweets, and company announcements talking about how thankful a leader and their team are. I find such feedback laudable. But, a kind reminder…great leaders are thankful every day, and they demonstrate this gratitude in diverse and distinct ways. Consider these four approaches to thankful leadership, and you will be well-positioned for long-term growth and success.
1. Recognize People’s Contributions
Your associates show up and contribute to the growth and well-being of your company—make sure you tell them how grateful you are for their distinct contributions. Great leaders will use a combination of methods (some more formal, others deliberately individualized) to recognize exceptional performance. You may regularly acknowledge an employee of the month or an outstanding department member—and associates will value the recognition. But there are plenty of opportunities for leaders to point out excellence daily. Tell your people when they do something that just made the organization a better place, a more effective player in the market, or a better environment in which to get work done. Pull someone aside and say: “If I haven’t told you lately, I want you to know how much we all appreciate what you do here.” Be specific. Tell people what they do, why their approach is unique, and how they directly affect your company’s success.
2. Demonstrate Respect and Transparency
Be engaged and responsive throughout the day. Be aware of associates’ needs. This does not mean you need to spend your day monitoring the office like a schoolteacher or a nanny. Instead, it is demonstrating behavior that conveys your respect for every associate and the efforts they make. You are working to ensure you support them in every way possible—be it eyeing improved processes, recognizing (and helping speak to) obstacles associates may encounter on the job, or ensuring the work environment and rewards systems are engaging and appropriate.
3. Develop Individuals
Show your people you appreciate what they do and their potential to do great things. Be a leader who helps your associates see what they can do and develop skills and knowledge to advance them through the organization. Recognizing peoples’ potential and taking concrete steps to help them advance is one of the most significant ways to say thanks—you are saying: you are important, and I want you to grow with us.
4. Build a Culture in which Everyone Thinks Like an Owner
I often remind business leaders that although they may have built or are currently growing the company, the work is done by every associate. Make sure you recognize each employee’s inherent need to be part of something special. Treat your associates like your partners, like owners of the business. The more a leader builds such a culture of consequence, the greater the motivation of all to make your organization successful. The best leaders show their associates thanks by giving them insight, autonomy, and the ability to improve your company at every level.
Leaders who commit to recognizing people, being engaged, developing associates, and creating a culture where all feel invested will recognize the impact of these people-decisions throughout their organization—and it will extend well beyond Thanksgiving Day. Use your people-oriented capabilities to be thankful daily.
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Hardly anyone focuses on the challenges you have as a leader of a small business that is established and growing. It really doesn’t matter if you are a leader with around 20 employees and growing or 100 employees and growing. After working with tens of thousands of leaders over the last 25 years, research, and my own experience growing a business to around $100M, I have these 10 tips for scaling your small to midsized business.
Listen in as our own Jonas Akerman speaks with Justin Uhler and Lynse Allen of Refine and Grow about how to grow a small business and what indicators point toward success.
We wanted to share this opportunity with our small business leaders reading our blog. It is not often that we can participate in high-quality, professional development experiences at no cost. But, here is one of those opportunities.
In this post, I wanted to call out some insights from my recent interview with Martin Piskoric from the 21st Century Entrepreneurship podcast entitled “Jonathan Michael Dapra: The Architect of Business Success.”