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The power of gratitude. It’s one of the most effective ways to become not only a better leader, but also a better person.
The effects of gratitude were studied in the works of Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California, Davis. Emmons studied the impact of gratitude on physical health, psychological well-being, and on our relationships with others. Immersed in this work for over a decade, Emmons found that gratitude comes with the following benefits:
- Stronger immune systems.
- Not as bothered by aches and pains.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Exercise more and take better care of their health.
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.
- Higher levels of positive emotions.
- More alert, alive, and awake.
- More joy, optimism, happiness, and pleasure.
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate.
- More forgiving.
- Feel less lonely and isolated and are more outgoing.
While those are all perks that anyone can enjoy, they’re particularly useful for anyone in a leadership position. If we’re not taking care of ourselves mentally and physically, coping with the demands of being a leader will be more difficult.
Research from Emmons and Anjali Mishra discovered that gratitude lowers stress. They also found that “gratitude enhances effortful goal striving.”
That’s well and good, but how can gratitude make you a better and more effective leader?
Nicole Lipkin writes that leaders should cultivate gratitude because it breeds engagement, more positive interactions, and builds resistance. What’s more, gratitude helps you acknowledge your accomplishments. Thankfulness encourages you to focus on your successes. You will not be consumed by the success or failures of your competitors, and you’ll be making the world better for those around you.
Gratitude, while allowing you to embrace your accomplishments, also keeps your ego in check. That’s because appreciation will enable you to realize that without assistance from others, you wouldn’t be as successful. Maybe it’s because you have a spouse who was your primary source of support and inspiration. A business partner provided you with the finances to launch your business. Or, thanks to their hard work and dedication, your business idea has become a reality because of your employees.
Also, when we’re thankful and optimistic, others gravitate towards us. Being approachable and encouraging is critical when networking and attracting top talent. A study from the University of Pennsylvania that shows when leaders are grateful to their employees, the employees are 50 percent more successful.
Furthermore, a study conducted by David DeSteno at Northwestern University found that being thankful or appreciative improves financial patience. And in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “It’s impossible not to stay motivated or get too down when you’re feeling grateful.”
[Excerpt from “Why Gratitude Makes Leaders More Effective“]
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