By Art Rainer
In the fast-paced and often thought-consuming role of leadership, it is easy to become complacent in expressing your gratitude toward others. Most leaders do not purposefully avoid thanking their team members. More likely, it is just not woven into their leadership repertoire as an essential skill — but it should be.
Here are 5 reasons why leaders need to consider thankfulness as an indispensable part of their leadership:
1. Because nobody has to do anything for you
Ultimately, nobody has to do anything for you, ever. Certainly, there are ramifications for not following leadership, but that choice can be made. Whenever someone follows your leadership, they have chosen to do so. And you need to be thankful for that decision.
2. Because it shows your human side
Thankfulness demonstrates vulnerability. It demonstrates need. As a leader, saying “thank you” communicates that you need your team. And this little slice of transparency can make even the most stone-faced leaders seem human.
3. Because leadership is about them, not you
A leader should always be more concerned with his or her team’s success rather than personal success. When a leader communicates gratitude, whether in a public or private setting, he or she is giving the team member a moment to be seen and recognized. While the leader could horde the credit, he or she is choosing to disperse it. Because it is all about them. That is leadership.
4. Because it motivates
Whether team members are personally thanked or they see other team members being thanked for their work, the expression of gratefulness motivates. It motivates because it recognizes the contribution they or their team members have made. Everyone wants to be noticed for his or her hard work, some publicly, some privately. And everyone wants to know his or her work matters. Thankfulness motivates because it lets team members know they are noticed and that their work matters.
5. Because you have been given so much for which to be thankful
The reality is that we deserve nothing. None of us are entitled to anything. There are men and women who are smarter than you, work harder than you, yet, have not received the same opportunities as you. And when someone realizes that they are entitled to nothing, they become grateful for everything. As a leader, thankfulness should be a constant mindset. Because you have been given so much for which to be thankful.
As leaders, we need to hone our ability to express thankfulness. And not just as a leadership tool, though it is. It a genuine expression of our understanding that we cannot do this alone, and that we are not entitled to anything.
Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.