Solution Saturday: No Gratitude From Leaders


Dear Dan,

Do you have any thoughts on the work environment where there is no gratitude present from the hierarchy above? Besides modeling it yourself, how do you shift the people around you?



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Dear Shift-Seeker,

Congratulations for understanding the importance of modeling behaviors. It’s the foundation of influence.

The desire for gratitude expresses our need to feel we matter.

Your desire to work in an environment where gratitude flows down hill is admirable. Sadly, the pressures leaders feel transform some into small-spirited ingrates. They may not mean to be negative, but focusing on problems turns any person dark. 

Reflect on the challenges your leaders face:

  1. Anticipate their challenges and frustrations.
  2. Be a burden-lifter, not a burden-maker.
  3. Ask your leaders how they feel.
  4. Show respect to your leaders. Respect creates positive energy and often feels like gratitude.
  5. Avoid being viewed as a brown-noser.
  6. Ask their advice for building a positive work environment, without complaining.

Complaining isn’t the way to build positive work environments.

Express gratitude frequently:

  1. It takes three or four positive exchanges to balance out one negative.
  2. Be specific. Avoid simple thank yous. Always add “for” when expressing gratitude. “I’m thankful for (Insert behaviors).
  3. Be serious. Thoughtful gratitude means more than bubbly.

Build a “gratitude team”:

  1. Build strong relationships with teammates.
  2. Express your vision for a positive work environment after building relationships.
  3. Don’t expression your vision by complaining.
  4. Go with those who “get it.” Don’t worry about those who don’t.
  5. Identify behaviors and language that reflect the positive environment you envision.
  6. Challenge each other to practice gratitude, even when you don’t feel grateful.
  7. Monitor each others’ progress.
  8. Celebrate success.
  9. Gather more members for your gratitude team.
  10. Repeat.

General observations:

  1. When it’s never good enough, gratitude goes out the door.
  2. Express gratitude for progress, even though you haven’t arrived. Success is about progress – never arrival.
  3. Modeling is the foundation of influence, but words matter.  Ask for what you want.

Building a positive work environment makes you a leader.

Best for the journey,


What suggestions do you have for Shift-Seeker?

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