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Leading Others to Gratitude (p-3/3)

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

Have you wondered why great influencers' grow leaders, and not blind followers? I believe it is the same reason why a lit lamp is not hide under a bed, because it is inefficacious. Likewise leading others to gratitude animate your experience and make the world a little bit better. In article 1, , we read about the impact of our thoughts and beliefs on gratitude, and in the second article we explored the six practices that can create a habit of gratitude. In this article we will explore how we can intentionally lead others to gratitude.

One of my joys as a young boy was playing with my collection of toy cars, surprisingly I enjoy it even today. My study table faced the window and I had the habit of keeping my toy cars lined up on the windowsill. One unfortunate day when I returned from school, I noticed few of my favorite toy cars missing, and I was devastated to say the least.  To this day, not only can I recollect the event, but also the associated feelings. I remember asking myself, why did I put it on the windowsill? Back then I didn't know about positive psychology or intentional gratitude, but in retrospect what got me through the feeling of loss, was the feeling of gratefulness that, I still had one favorite toy pickup truck that wasn't stolen (picture inserted). And to this day, when the going gets tough, I have the pickup truck to remind me of the power of gratitude in overcoming the adversities of life. 

Our natural response to people commenting “ you seem very happy today” is to shun it away as nothing or say thank you or I am always like this. I believe, this is a good opportunity to invite people into your world of gratitude. Do note, it is not to boast of things you have or you have achieved, rather it is an opportunity to appreciate the common little things like getting up early to have a hot beverage with your spouse as the warm rays of sunlight lights up your home on a cool winter morning. This type of response can in most context lead other people to ponder about the little things in their life they can be grateful for.  The above narrative attracts others more when there is a deep connection with the other person, because connectedness breeds influence and influence is leadership. However, in the above narrative, imagine the person is going through a bitter divorce, the gratitude sharing may trigger remorse and hurt, so to lead others to gratitude, your expression of gratitude should be sensitive to the context and should be embedded in a meaningful relationship.  Definitely the best way to lead others is by example. People do what people see, and that is the purest form of leadership. It is usually noted that people practicing gratitude are equanimous in navigating the sudden and uncertain situations they are challenged with. And this quality of being calm and composed is one of the by-product of gratitude living, which by itself acts as an accelerator to improve your gratitude feeling and secondly it is essential in leading others to gratitude.   Since leadership is influence and influence means to move a person in thought or action to a better position. Therefore everyone possess leadership potential, but how it takes impacts the world depends solely on your leadership growth plan. Here are some points that can increase your influence on others 

  • A genuine desire to connect with others 

  • Adding value to the growth and success of others 

  • Being a person of integrity displaying faith in others 

  • Actively listening to others 

As a grateful person yourself, if you are leading a group of people because of your position or recognition, you will naturally and automatically radiate the power of gratitude. However, since coaching is a leadership behavior, to proliferate gratitude intentionally it is more effective to coach people in the art of gratitude.  As a coach myself, I have observed variants of dissatisfaction in peoples life due to non-achieving of goals or possession or positions, that usually stems from lack of gratitude. Locking them in a destructive loop of self defeat. In the celebrating life coaching partnership, I help clients break free from this vicious cycle of failure and power launch them on a new trajectory. Therefore, I strongly encourage leaders to use your coaching skills to lead others to gratitude.  Let me summarize the three parts of the article in a nutshell, to grow in gratitude you have to intentionally work on three elements of gratitude, that is, your thinking, your gratitude habits and lastly leading others, and blend it together to propel your definition of a good life. The anecdote ‘the sword of Damocles’ illustrates that the fear of loss deprive the joy of ‘good life’, and I believe gratitude can counter this effect to bring meaningful and sustainable celebration of life.

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