Bryan Miles, CEO and co-founder of eaHELP, a provider of virtual executive assistants, knew he wanted “gratitude” to be featured prominently in his company’s values. Here are his suggestions for all leaders and employees to consider this week and all year long:
1. Don’t wait to be grateful. Regardless of your position in an organization, cultivate gratitude as a core part of your work. “Don’t wait until you’re leading a team, a division or a company to become a grateful leader,” Miles says. “If you do, when you start telling people you’re grateful for them once you’re in the position you want, people won’t buy it.” He suggests you make sure those around you right now understand that you’re grateful for the many ways they help you each and every day.
2. Be humble. Miles believes that if you’re a leader, you know down in your gut that what you’re leading doesn’t have much to do with you. He suggests you acknowledge that you’ve achieved your role, in part, because your team works hard and takes advantage of market opportunities. “Your team looks to you for leadership and for guidance, but when it comes down to the day-to-day wins and losses that actually make up your business, you need to know that those don’t have much to do with you,” Miles says. “You need to be grateful for the team that powers the engine of your business.” Similarly, as a team member, recognize your role in ensuring your team continues to move forward. Be grateful for everyone around you, and don’t be shy about expressing appreciation.
3. Acknowledge that your success depends on others. Being a grateful employee will make you a smarter employee. Admitting that you don’t know everything and that everything you’ve ever learned that’s made you successful has come from someone or something else helps improve your standing in a team. “Being grateful for those from whom you’ve learned is essential if you want to stay humble and teachable and will actually propel you forward in your career,” Miles says.
4. Be sincere. In many cases, being grateful can be disarming. As a leader or a team member, when you are thankful and express it – sincerely and frequently – it will often make people stop in their tracks. “Genuine gratitude is pretty rare in today’s society, which is a shame, but expressing real gratitude sets people apart,” Miles says. If you lead a team, your employees will know when your gratitude is genuine, and they are more likely to put in extra effort. “Grateful leaders have stronger, more effective, more loyal teams,” he says. As an employee, demonstrating gratitude can help set you apart from others in your organization.
Consider how being appreciative at work and expressing those feelings to all team members can help make your organization more successful. When you do, you give the people who work with you even more reasons to be thankful.
Miles says this approach has helped contribute to the success of his organization. He believes his success could very well end, should he fail to incorporate gratitude for those around him. “Gratitude is the only lasting motivator of change,” he says. “It’s the only thing that will propel you to change in the future, if you’re grateful for what you have now.”
This post originally appeared in U.S. News & World Reports.