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How Gratitude Makes You a Better Leader

By Joey Havens

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Top view of gratitude changes everything written note on the wooden desk with pen aside.

I just returned home after two nights away. I bet you are like me, after any trip overnight or not, you are just thankful to be home. It’s our comfort zone, our energy charger, safety net and dwelling of some of our most loved ones. We have our strongest sense of belonging when we are at home.  

As I unpack and run into CeCe in the hall, “Gosh, I missed you, I’m so thankful to be home.” “Me too,” as CeCe quickly moves past me in the hall. Well, that was a terrific welcome home! Don’t worry, I didn’t say it out loud. I’ve learned.  

Later, as we relaxed outside together, I discover CeCe has had a long day of caregiving and doctor visits which are always very frustrating and nerve-wracking. I simply caught her at a stressful and low-energy time. My jump to conclusions about feeling welcomed home was really just that, an unfounded assumption. Wow, did I learn my lesson the next morning. 

After making coffee and giving Oliver (our Yorkie) his treat, I walk into my home office to start the day. There in the center of my desk is an envelope with my name on it. Opening the letter, it’s a handwritten note from CeCe to me expressing her gratitude for all I do for our families. So even during her stressful times, she stopped to express her gratitude in the most thoughtful way. It worked, too, as I could not do enough honey do’s that weekend. Ha!

I love her for those expressions of gratitude. 

Every effective leader and coach that I have worked with, has an amazing mindset of gratitude. It’s hard to lead people (or ourselves) if we are not thankful for them and care about them. Gratitude helps us give people the benefit of good intentions realizing they want to succeed, and they want to be valued.  

Gratitude keeps us humble, realizing that we really control nothing other than our choices and decisions. 

Never underestimate the power of gratitude, that’s why it’s one of HORNE’s four core values.

Gratitude empowers the leader and everyone around them and makes us better. Gratitude provides the support and caring that we all crave. Starting every day by writing down or expressing gratitude for three things you are thankful for will give you a boost every time. There’s always something to be thankful for. Gratitude is a behavior and one that we should all work to grow. Thanks, CeCe, for opening my eyes and heart.