The Leadership Practice of Gratitude



With the launch of my new book, “Inner Switch:  7 Timeless Principles to Transform Modern Leadership,”  I’ve had the opportunity to reflect a lot about gratitude.  It was an exceptional week, not only because I was speaking to people who were interested in the book’s message.  It was exceptional because of the depth of gratitude I received from so many people.  Clients, past clients, and even prospect clients, all shared their questions and challenging problems in conversations with me.  I am grateful for the depth of their curiosity, and most especially for the ways that the principles outlined in the book seem to be resonating.

How often are you feeling, being and expressing gratitude?

Gratitude can be a gateway into transforming a mindset that has become stale.  Do you have a leadership mindset that could benefit from a new approach?  For example, what is your mindset around employees?

Having employees is a big responsibility. Your natural mindset might be that having employees is challenging. Having other people’s livelihoods depend on you is significant.  Yet aren’t employees also the force that supports our ability to do our work in the world?


Have you felt gratitude for your employees? 

Have you communicated it to them?

When we focus only on the responsibility part, our thoughts (and ultimately our behaviors) reflect the emphasis on how challenging it is to have employees.

But what if you could shift your mindset from challenge to gratitude? What if it were really possible and easily attainable?  You could move from thinking about employees and feeling RESPONSIBLE to FEELING gratitude for them?  Having appreciation for their contributions and loyalty?  Acknowledging that sometimes they see your leadership as being bigger than even you do?  What is possible now?

A coaching session provided a client this opportunity to make that mindset shift.  A ready client shows the willingness to learn new ways, including letting go of habits that are not serving him. Working through a guided experiential exercise in coaching helped him experience the impact of changing his mindset with mind, body and spirit.

Gratitude welled up inside, creating a transformational moment for him.

Another client identified the absence of gratitude as a problem for some folks on his team.  He had become more aware of its importance for himself, and wanted to do something about it in the workplace.  He chose to use a whiteboard outside his office as a community space for this purpose.    He posted the question: “What are you grateful for today?”

There was no announcement, no suggestion to answer the question on the whiteboard, yet, one by one, each employee wrote something…

  • My family…
  • My paycheck…
  • My health…

And an office mindset began to shift…

Gratitude can be a gateway into transforming a mindset that has become stale.  When we as leaders and as employees focus only on the responsibility part of our careers, the “why” of what we do can get lost.  Our thoughts (and ultimately our behaviors) are impacted.

How are you your gratitude as a leader? 

Take a moment to create your own “aha” leadership gratitude moment and post it here.  In gratitude.

To learn more about how you can develop this and other important leadership skills you might not yet know, I hope you’ll check out my new book, “Inner Switch:  7 Timeless Principles to Transform Modern Leadership.”  You can purchase it from your favorite online retailer at

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