The Power of Appreciation:
A Timeless Lesson in Leadership
“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” – Mother Teresa
In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy to forget the profound impact a simple ‘thank you’ can have. The urgency to express appreciation and gratitude struck me seven years ago, and it remains as relevant as ever, especially in the lives of driven and successful leaders like you (and me).
In 2016, I experienced loss on two fronts and realized the importance of timely expressions of appreciation. My mother passed, having experienced a period of illness. I was allowed precious time to convey love and appreciation for the remarkable woman she was. On the very same day, my sons lost a friend unexpectedly, leaving no room for goodbyes. Witnessing the raw and beautiful outpouring of love, appreciation, and gratitude on his Facebook page stirred something deep in me. He had touched so many lives, and I wondered if he ever knew his impact while still living.
I’m still deeply moved when I think of this juxtaposition of farewells.
I made a commitment then – express my gratitude, appreciate freely, say thank you often, and make sure that people knew their impact on me while they were still present. I instilled Mother Teresa’s words above and realized that appreciation is the bread of life. It fosters growth, humanity, connection, and joy. It creates emotional safety, fuels trust and commitment, and elevates the willingness to engage.
Unfortunately, our focus on problem-solving and goal achievement can leave our hearts neglected. A neglected heart creates bitterness, victimhood, depression, and – ultimately – disengagement.
Why We Don’t Express Appreciation More Often
If we know why appreciation is a positive force, why don’t we express it more often? Here are some of the more common reasons:
In this fast-paced, distractible, and results-focused world, appreciation becomes the focal point of The Humanized Leader. Appreciation restores the human connection and creates positive outcomes. People need your appreciation now more than ever, as the world tackles some gnarly challenges.
How to Cultivate a Habit of Appreciation
Humanized Leaders are committed to making appreciation a habit. Here are 10 tips to support your growth and development of this important habit:
As a leadership teacher, I have witnessed the transformative power of regular expressions of appreciation. When my teams participate in The Humanized Leader Course over a period of several months, we end our series with expressions of appreciation. I never tire of this. It’s life changing.
Regular expressions of appreciation become a way of being integral to your leadership. And remember, even when expecting nothing in return, the universe has a way of returning your positive outpouring abundantly.
In the words of Wayne Dyer,
“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.”
Take the time to appreciate and see what magic you create.
This article has been updated from the original version first posted April 16, 2016.
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