Leading with Gratitude: The Power Behind a Positive Leader


Leading with gratitude can, at times, be challenging. It’s not hard to find pain in the world around us, in the lives of friends or loved ones, and even in our own lives. Disease, unknowns, instability, and division create conflict and unrest at every level. Believing the worst-case scenario can be easy if we’re not careful.

There are enough challenging circumstances in the world to discourage even the staunchest optimist. Yet, some people are very present-minded, not denying pain exists but maintaining a positive outlook despite their circumstances. A good leader influences countless people and is often fueled by the positive power of gratitude.

Vision of Gratitude

A habitually grateful person has a specific way of seeing. They have the clarity of mind to choose where and what they pay attention to. Noticing things to be grateful for is a learned skill coming with awareness, time, and effort. Unfortunately, many of us lead such busy lives that time for gratefulness gets squeezed out.

Leading with gratitude takes time to pause, think, and ponder and is easy to leave out of a full schedule. However, a visionary leader propelled by gratitude has made a habit of slowing down enough to focus on things to be grateful for. A leader with this mindset can be grateful despite disparaging circumstances and purposefully takes time each day to exercise an attitude of gratefulness.

Voice of Gratitude

Because challenging circumstances are so ordinary, it’s easy to complain. Complaining is a socially acceptable habit that quietly erodes one’s countenance. It is easy to jump in when someone else is complaining, and it’s hard not to sound trite when changing the direction of a negative conversation. However, a grateful leader has the strength, finesse, and compassion to turn the course and use their voice toward pointing out the positive and where gratefulness can still be applied.

At times, the battle is within, and a good leader can challenge their inner critic to overcome their dour outlook. This ungrateful spirit removes a leader from the present and reminds them of past regrets or injustice or strikes fear into their mind about future mistakes or unfairness. However, gratitude lives in the present, and a grateful leader lives there too.

Wisdom of Gratitude

A grateful leader isn’t falsely positive. Gratefulness sometimes is only arrived at because of challenging circumstances. For example, a company would feel incredibly thankful when a new product succeeded when a previous product failed. A grateful leader can accept the pain of difficult circumstances while simultaneously appreciating life’s beauty and joy.

Again, vision and voice play an essential role in obtaining gratitude. Becoming a leader who lives with a grateful spirit consciously ponders, even meditates on the blessings. This effort trains the brain to see differently, and gratefulness becomes a habit.

Gratitude can be a learned trait with some practice. It’s a beautiful yet uncommon trait but evident in a leader who practices and espouses change leadership. So, as our country pauses to reflect on being thankful this month, my hope is gratefulness becomes a highly regarded trait of the business leader.