This may appear to be an unusual aspect to have in a discourse on Emotional Leadership. The ability to say thank you and to express thanks for the efforts and results delivered by others is essential in leadership.
James Allen said “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
As a simple motivator gratitude is ranks on a par with praise. I my experience as I meet ever more leaders who have risen to heights of senior leadership quickly based upon the results they have delivered the ability to say thank you and be authentic in the gratitude is often limited. Those that may be driven in their delivery of change and results may well be motivated my the emotional need they get fulfilled by praise and gratitude form their bosses. If this is too ingrained then genuinely giving the praise and accolades to others may prove difficult. As mentioned earlier, we can all see the motivational impact of gratitude but those that give thanks purely to motivate will soon find it is less effective. Why? I return to the congruence aspect. They are grateful with a motive rather than simply being grateful. I know which one has the greatest impact upon me.
As often happens in the world of emotional intelligence authentic actions that are not carried out specifically to motivate or improve performance often prove to be the greatest motivators and performance enhancers. Those less emotionally intelligent find it difficult to grasp the need and ability to let go of the desire to drive results through manipulative emotional leadership and instead to be genuine in their actions towards others. It’s an interesting trick to master which requires genuine commitment, authenticity and in the beginning some nerve.
It I similar to the art of learning to fly as described by Douglas Adams in his series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. Its knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. … Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties.”