The Art of Unexpected Gratitude

change empowerment purpose Oct 27, 2023

Picture this: You're leading a team, navigating challenges, and striving for success. How can you become a better leader and inspire your team to reach new heights? In a recent episode of The High Performance Leader, I had the privilege of sitting down with leadership expert Will Dahlstrom, who shared invaluable insights on what it takes to unlock leadership success.

Leaders are often burdened with the responsibilities of driving results, managing teams, and making tough decisions. But amidst the hustle and bustle of the corporate world, it's crucial not to overlook the simplest yet most powerful tool in a leader's toolkit: gratitude. Will Dahlstrom, COO of Zinda Law Group, a seasoned leader with a unique perspective shaped by his military background, joined us to explore how gratitude can be harnessed as a leadership superpower to create a more positive and productive work environment, boost team engagement, and achieve greater success.

Gratitude and Leadership: The Perfect Pairing

Will's journey from serving as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army to leading a prominent national law firm has instilled in him the profound significance of delivering results while showing gratitude to your team. As he succinctly puts it, "The only way you ever succeed is if you're taking care of your people." This sentiment echoes the core principle that true leadership revolves around fostering an atmosphere of trust, respect, and mutual support.

The Power of Unexpected Gratitude

Gratitude isn't merely about saying "thank you" at the end of a project or a job well done. It's about those unexpected moments of appreciation that create a profound impact. Unexpected gratitude is like a delightful surprise that not only makes team members feel valued but also enhances their sense of belonging. When you notice someone's effort and go the extra mile to express your appreciation, it creates a ripple effect of positivity in the workplace.

"Gratitude isn't just a feeling; it's a powerful leadership tool. Acknowledging your team's contributions can have a profound impact."

Creating a Culture of Unexpected Gratitude

Now, the big question arises: How can leaders create a culture of unexpected gratitude within their organizations? It all starts with setting an example and encouraging your leadership team to follow suit. Remember, this isn't something you can institutionalize with a strict framework or a process. Instead, it's a mindset, a way of thinking, a shared commitment to consistently acknowledge the contributions of your team members.

The catch here is that, if not handled thoughtfully, unexpected gratitude can become an expected routine. The key is to strike a balance, introducing surprises sporadically rather than predictably. A continuous stream of surprises loses its novelty, making it essential to preserve the "unexpected" element. Build these moments into your leadership team's culture, ensuring everyone commits to making them part of the routine.

"Empathy isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength. Understanding your team's emotions can lead to better collaboration and problem-solving."

The Impact of Unexpected Gratitude: Loyalty and Engagement

The results of instituting unexpected gratitude in your organization are impressive. It fosters a sense of loyalty beyond measure. Studies show that teams exposed to gratitude are significantly more engaged and dedicated. Employees in a culture of gratitude are more likely to trust their leaders, collaborate effectively, and feel motivated to give their best effort.

But remember, it's not about grand gestures or expensive gifts. It's the thought and acknowledgment that hold the real value. Even small, heartfelt tokens of appreciation can have a profound impact. For example, a simple handwritten note or a favorite coffee treat can convey your genuine gratitude.

As I listened to Will, I couldn't help but reflect on my own leadership journey. I've found that incorporating these principles into my leadership style has made a significant difference in how I connect with my team and achieve our goals.

So, for leaders looking to elevate their teams and foster a culture of collaboration and success, remember that the secret ingredient might be unexpected gratitude. It's an authentic, human approach to leadership that can transform your workplace, boost morale, and drive exceptional results. Are you ready to make gratitude your superpower?

In your leadership journey, don't be too busy to acknowledge those who support your mission. Surprise your team members, show gratitude, and embrace the extraordinary impact of unexpected appreciation.

What leadership principles resonate with you the most? Share your thoughts and let's continue this conversation.


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