This week’s entry just happens to coincide with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, a once-a-year day set aside to be thankful for the bounty we have enjoyed. Originally it signaled the end of the harvest season when crops were gathered from the fields. Most Americans no longer farm but the day has remained one of the most significant and important holidays on the calendar.
We tend to look at the attributes of leadership in management terms – organizing, directing, overseeing and the like. But effective leaders are also skilled in the more intangible attributes. This one – gratefulness – has so much to do with the perspective one holds of others and the way one handles them.
We handle things of value with greater care and attention than we do things of little value. We don’t throw jewels on the floor. We throw rubbish there. We don’t handle breakable things roughly, we handle them with care.
So it is with the attitude of gratefulness. I seldom use dictionary definitions but this one is particularly relevant. Gratefulness is defined as “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful.”
Note especially focus – “appreciative of benefits received.”
In my Facebook yesterday there appeared a meme from the Zig Ziglar Company. It said “You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.”
True. We can and we can’t. Most leaders are multi-talented individuals capable of great achievement. But that very attribute, the ability to do just about anything, often trips us up. We try to do too much by ourselves, overcommit to responsibilities, and get caught in the whirlwind of trying to keep up. That’s where delegation comes in.
“Appreciative of benefits received”
Effective delegators are thankful for what others can do. They accept their personal limitations which opens the door to finding others to do for them what they cannot do for or by themselves.
Effective delegators understand that others are more than people who do things. Those things those others do provide considerable benefit to everyone. The objectives of the company or organization are furthered. Progress is realized. Profit is gained.
Understand what others cannot do. We can’t do everything, neither can anyone else. Everyone has limited time, talent, and energy. Effective delegators know that and work within the bounds of those limits. Motivators, and by that I mean leaders who are good at unleashing energy and enthusiasm in others, know that the most efficient and effective means of unleashing others is to focus in on what they are good at doing. We all have times when we have to do things we’d rather not, but over time we all tend to rise in fields of personal ability. It’s impossible to be grateful if you focus on another’s inabilities.
Avoid resentment. Too many leaders resent the time, effort, and money it takes to employ others. Failing to fully appreciate the benefits received by the labor of others, some leaders become irritated at what it takes to train employees or associates, at the money they must pay them. Effective delegators don’t work for nothing and they accept that others don’t either. There’s an old proverb that says “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.” Equating employees and associates to oxen may be a bit insensitive, but you get the idea. Yes it takes time, yes it costs money, but the benefits received are worth the expense.
Don’t assume others know how you feel or what you think. Just as we set aside one day a year here in the US to be particularly thankful, find a time in your schedule to express appreciation. Gratefulness does almost no good if it remains locked up.
So, let me be thankful to you. There are lots of places you could spend your time and lots of things to read out there. I’m thankful you’ve stopped by here today.
Now, why not pass on how you feel about those who help you?