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Practicing Gratitude in Leadership

practicing gratitude

In this special Thanksgiving column, Kiley Mutschler shares examples of what practicing gratitude with your team and members can look like.

While 2020 has been far from “perfect,” there is still plenty to be grateful for. When we implement this simple practice in our lives, we not only improve our mental well-being, but the well-being of those around us.

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

In the book, “The Happiness Advantage,” Shawn Achor states “Countless studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has also been proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes.”

Leading from a place of gratitude can help spread positivity among your organization. As a leader, I would encourage you to start and end your day with a short gratitude practice.

Practicing Gratitude with Your Team

Positive praise has always been important but in today’s world, it is now essential to lead with thankfulness. Praising your team enhances their self-esteem, decision making, creativity and resiliency. Make sure your gratitude is personal and starts to become part of your team culture.

  • Shower your team with gratitude for showing up every day and handling all the challenges and changes that have occurred due to COVID-19.
  • Show praise not just through email but by handwritten notes or small tokens of appreciation; make it personal.
  • Give thanks for things that benefit the organization and the greater good of your team, not just what benefits you.
  • Open team meetings sharing things you are each grateful for and/or hope to accomplish.
  • Encourage the team to compliment and praise each other.

Practicing Gratitude with Your Members

Just as our teams are going through their own challenges, so are each of our members. Our clubs should be their place of happiness, stress release and mental clarity. If your team is actively practicing gratitude, your members should also reap those benefits.

  • Thank your members for choosing to return to the club and for showing up every day.
  • Acknowledge and praise members when they are abiding by the new policies, i.e. wiping down their equipment, practicing physical distancing, etc.
  • Incorporate gratitude into your club through programs or services:
    • Member gratitude wall.
    • Expand class offerings to include mindfulness and meditation with a focus on gratitude.
    • Involve the community with a gratitude and giving campaign for the holidays; be a part of something bigger than yourself.
    • Mental well-being program with health coaching or nutrition services along with personal training.

While most things do feel out of our control during this time, the one thing we can control is our attitude and our actions. Remember, you do have a choice: choose gratitude! With Thanksgiving fast approaching, there is no better time to start than now.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

 – William Arthur Ward

Kiley Mutschler

Kiley Mutschler is a regional manager with Active Wellness, overseeing corporate and multi-tenant fitness centers in Texas, Arizona and Canada. She has over 10 years of experience managing people at all levels; responsible for hiring, training and building strong teams within the organization. Kiley has held many roles within Active Wellness and was named an IHRSA Rising Star in 2019. She can be reached at kiley.mutschler@activewellness.com.

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