I love the week of Thanksgiving. I am a huge advocate that servant leaders are intentional about building a culture of encouragement and gratitude.

Thanksgiving is a special day that has been set-aside in our awesome nation of America to honor God and express our thankfulness to him for all of the blessings that he has bestowed upon us throughout the year. I appreciate this holiday to remind us that we should really show an attitude of gratitude everyday throughout the year.

By consistently putting emphasis on leading with an attitude of gratitude, servant leaders:

  • Build confidence in others
  • Build performance and foster innovation
  • Build positive relationships
  • Build trust
  • Enhance their personal health

I know that this does not always come naturally for everyone, but I firmly believe that a leader can develop an attitude of gratitude if they are intentional about working at it.

Here are a few ideas for improving your leadership through gratitude:

  • Make gratitude intentional and routine. Make it a goal each day to go out and catch people doing the “right thing”, and then let them know how much you appreciate it, and the difference their work is making for the organization and / or customers.
  • Be specific and authentic. Don’t just tell someone “Great job”. Instead let them know how their specific performance or behavior has made a true difference.
  • Use gratitude to esteem values-aligned behaviors, recognize effort, and affirm strengths. Don’t focus only on results; focus just as heavily on those things that lead to results.
  • When appropriate make it a “Big Deal”. Recognize times when gratitude should be publically celebrated.
  • Write hand-written notes of appreciation. Hand-written notes take more effort, and mean more to the recipient.
  • Welcome and appreciate gratitude. Graciously accept gratitude coming your way.
  • Each day ask yourself, Who is one person who needs to hear me say, “Thank you, I’m grateful for you.”

A few specific things I would like to express thanks for would include:

  • God’s love and mercy that enables me to passionately fulfill my calling to spread a movement of servant leadership
  • My family for their love and never-ending support
  • My friends and clients who challenge me to get better everyday to be that much more effective in these endeavors
  • Readers and subscribers of my blog who encourage me with their comments and their commitment to servant leadership
  • My clients, who I am honored to serve, that inspire me everyday with their passion for making a positive impact on this world
  • People who pray faithfully over me

I wish you all a Blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Mark Deterding

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18