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  • Writer's pictureDr. Patrick E. Crawford

Special Thanksgiving Issue: Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Leadership Thoughts | Special Issue

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family dinners and express gratitude for the blessings in

life. Have you ever wondered what Thanksgiving teaches us about leadership?

Gratitude is a fundamental principle that resonates widely in the leadership world.

Gratitude is an essential leadership trait for leaders. Good leaders understand the

importance of strong relationships, positivity, and gratitude in building robust

organizations. Great leaders internalize gratitude and demonstrate it daily in their work

and personal lives. They genuinely valued the contributions of others and encouraged

diverse perspectives while recognizing the uniqueness of each individual. Expressing

gratitude should not be limited to successful accomplishments but also to the failures,

which are learning events. Expressing gratitude for successes and failures promotes a

culture of continuous improvement and strengthens resilience within the organization.

Creating a Culture of Thankfulness

When leaders recognize the work of others, it creates a sense of unity and commitment.

When people perceive their efforts as valuable, it leads to increased collaboration,

efficiency, and engagement. Authentic gratitude doesn't have to be exaggerated. A

direct "thank you"; significantly improves morale and promotes a constructive


When gratitude is woven into the workplace rather than just once at Thanksgiving, it

positively impacts the organization's culture. A culture of appreciation is evident when

team members thank each other for help, cooperation, and advice. These seemingly

simple actions promote gratitude and mutual respect. Leaders should use Thanksgiving

as an opportunity to pause, reflect, and be grateful for their accomplishments and the

difficult times that led to personal growth. Showing gratitude for life's twists and turns

helps set a good example to others to face challenges with optimism. Thanksgiving is a

perfect time to commit to an attitude of gratitude and demonstrating appreciation for

others throughout the year.

Leading with a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving should be about more than just being thankful for what we have. It's an

opportunity to commit to the practice of conveying gratitude to others. Leaders who lead

with gratitude set an example for everyone else. They promote kindness, generosity,

and giving back to the community while fostering empathy and social responsibility

within the organization. A leader's ability to recognize and use individual abilities and

talents for the common good is a sign of leadership ability. Leaders must create an

environment where everyone feels their contributions are valued and creativity and

ingenuity are kindled.

In addition to enjoying a delicious meal and spending time with family and friends this

Thanksgiving, let's take a moment to reflect on the importance of gratitude in leadership.

Great leaders know that thankfulness is essential to building well-functioning, resilient

organizations and cultures that thrive on gratitude and kindness.

Thus, the relationship between leadership and Thanksgiving becomes clear. People

who demonstrate gratitude in leadership roles create an atmosphere where those

involved feel respected, encouraged, and inspired. On this special Thanksgiving Day,

let us continue to be grateful in our pursuit of leadership by recognizing the talents of

others and fostering an environment where gratitude and appreciation for others are the



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