• jamesarndt13

Gratitude. We all need more of it.


Saying thank you and showing appreciation to your team is so inexpensive, but failing to do so can be very costly. Showing gratitude was a lesson that some of us we're taught growing up. Remember this one, "say please and thank you." We once knew the importance of showing gratitude. Guess what? It is still vitally important today.


The amazing thing about gratitude: it is free to give. Another thing that we need to understand about gratitude is the priceless impact it has upon the recipient. Sincere gratitude is a powerful gift. Thanking others for being there for you. Showing appreciation for the contribution of others. Acknowledging a job well done. Thankfulness for another person's effort.


We are all human. Most of us have an innate need to be accepted and appreciated. When we express our gratitude and appreciation of others, it goes a long way to meeting this primal need. How many times have you heard, I felt under appreciated? No one spoke to me. I felt like I was not important. I felt invisible. These are all examples of not experiencing genuine gratitude.


In converse, we also hear: I felt like I was part of the team. I felt appreciated. I felt rewarded. This occurs when someone you know experiences gratitude. When you express genuine gratitude to a team member, a family member, or a friend you are making a positive connection. John Maxwell, a well established leadership guru and a big influencer in my life, even though we have never met, says it best that before you can influence a person you have to touch their heart. You have to connect with them. A sincere showing of gratitude is a tremendous way to connect and touch someone else's heart.


Through my 17 plus years of executive level leadership I have matured and realized the importance of expressing genuine and sincere gratitude. When I first began my stint as a City Manager I assumed the title and position was all I needed. I was the Boss and they will do what I command. The all powerful Oz has spoken. I learned rather quickly how naive that was. I am grateful for the mentors that helped me along the way. You truly have to connect with your team. Show appreciation and concern before they will want to follow you. A vital leadership lesson I learned at the Midwest Leadership Institute was power and authority are two entirely separate things. Your title may give you authority, but that is a limited resource that diminishes when you use it. Power on the other hand is your capacity to influence. Power is freely given to you by those you surround yourself with, not a title. Power is generated by connecting. Touch a heart prior to asking for another to lend a hand. It will go much further than what you will get speaking as the all powerful Oz.


In closing, I want to express my gratitude to all of the men and women who have served with me over my 23 years of local government service and my 3 years in the U.S. Army. I have been blessed with some tremendous leaders and teammates. I am so grateful for the good times, but I am also very appreciative of the bad times. It was in those bad times that strong bonds were formed. Those bad times make you feel and express genuine appreciation and gratitude.


Keep shining!

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