Gratitude: A Gift To Grow Your Leadership Skills

Life experiences are gifts of learning. 

Some gifts come wrapped up in simple packages. If you aren’t paying attention, you may miss the lesson.  While other gifts come in more complex packaging.  These gifts require you to unravel your experiences, so you can learn the lesson they have to teach.

One of these gifts came to me from a magnet on a lunchroom fridge that bore a simple quote:

“You won’t be happy with more, if you aren’t grateful for what you already have.”

Here’s the thing about quotes, and why I love them!  At any given moment in time, they speak into your life in new ways. They are always ready to impart some wisdom into your life. 

Today, this quote speaks to me in its relevance to leadership growth.

As a certified leadership coach, the entrepreneurs and executive clients I work with are committed to improving their ability to lead themselves and their teams well.  The challenges these leaders experience require them to develop new mindsets, skill-sets, and habits to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

There is one mindset shift that many of my clients have learned to make that stands out prominently.  This mindset enables these leaders to be less frustrated when things don’t go as planned, less stressed during times of conflict, and more confident to meet their challenges head on.

What is that mindset?  It is a mindset of being grateful for the experiences you have – as challenging as they may be – for they provide you with the opportunities you need to learn and grow.

A case in point: One corporate services manager I coached, wanted to become a better delegator.  I helped her map out a plan for delegating her work and she began to take action. The next thing you know, she had a situation where the delegation went wrong!  The delegatee didn’t complete the task properly within the timeframe required.

Frustrated, this manager said she was “stuck working late to get the task done before it was due in the morning”.  This was exactly the opposite of what the delegation was meant to do – free up her time, not cost her more time!

Did this mean that she was DOOMED for failure as a delegator?  Did this mean her team member couldn’t be TRUSTED?  Certainly not!  What this meant was that now this manager had another opportunity to practice becoming a better delegator.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears!  Her teacher in this case, was an opportunity to learn more about how to become a better delegator.  Now she needed to learn how to monitor a delegated task, so she wasn’t leaving the review and feedback to the last minute.  When she was able to recognize this, she became grateful for this experience and less frustrated by it. She had a way forward.

To help you develop the mindset that “gratitude is the best attitude” when faced with challenging situations, you can apply this simple formula:

I won't be happy with __________ (insert what you really want to be, do, have or feel), if ...

  I'm not already grateful for the opportunities to practice and learn from  ___________ (insert the opportunity in front of you now).

For my client, it would be: I won’t be happy being a better delegator, if I’m not grateful for the opportunities to practice and learn from delegating .

Adopt the mindset that the present is perfect and be grateful for the challenges that show up in your life. Consider them the exact gifts you need to become the influential and inspiring leader you want to be.

Lisa Holden Rovers, MSc, CPHR, PCC, is the Founder of Workplace Matters. Since 2005, Lisa has been coaching entrepreneurs and executives to grow as leaders and spark team cultures that thrive. She’s an award-winning human resources professional and a certified leadership and team coach who is passionate about helping people step into what is possible.  

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