What Gratitude Really Means

It doesn’t matter how much you accomplish in the world, there’s a voice in your head that wonders if you might matter more. Successful leaders overcome their inner accuser, even if it isn’t silenced.

People who feel they don’t matter squander their potential.

The nobility of leadership is helping people make a difference and affirming them when they do.

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Gratitude says you’re worthy.

A powerful act of leadership recently landed in our mailbox. My wife received a handwritten thank you note. It helped her believe she’s making a difference.  It bolstered her courage.

Gratitude withheld is kin to ingratitude. Many on your team are hungry for a simple pat on the back, coupled with a heartfelt, “Keep up the great work.”

Gratitude says you made a difference. 


Gratitude expands you’re power.

Every leader who is needy for power, sucks power from others.

One reason leaders withhold gratitude is they fear power in others. After all, it’s harder to control people who feel powerful. You need to knock them down a peg or two. Let them know they aren’t “all that.” Keep them in line.

It’s easy to ignite feelings of insignificance in others when you have authority. Lousy leaders drain people’s power with criticism, put-downs, nit-picking, and disrespect.

Gratitude restores what criticism destroys.


Gratitude amplifies your strengths.

Strength for the journey includes believing you matter. People who feel strong go further than those who feel weak.

Leaders who feel weak don’t have time, inclination, or energy to help others feel strong.

People who believe they can make a difference:

  1. Hold their heads a bit higher.
  2. Think about possibilities just a bit more.
  3. Try with greater confidence.
  4. Accept compliments without becoming self-indulgent.

Gratitude emboldens others to make a difference today.

How might leaders help others believe they might make a difference today?

When you show gratitude to others, what happens in them?