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The 5 Cs of Acknowledgment for Grateful Leaders: An Introduction

By Judith W. Umlas

I am grateful for the opportunity to write this series on the “5 Cs of Acknowledgment.” Why am I grateful? Because these concepts are transformational, inspirational, and motivational. They are simple, don’t cost anything, and will create miracles for you as soon as you start using them—not only at work, but in your communities and families, too. And I will admit it—I am greedy for miracles! Please share these breakthroughs with me as you experience them.

Here’s one such “miracle” that occurred during one webinar I led. More than 100 participants from across the globe attended this particular presentation. In the middle of the session, one participant sent a chat message to the whole group that read: “I will be right back. I have to go acknowledge my boss.” Several minutes later the participant returned and chatted his excitement: “I did it!”

So, what had happened there? Why was it necessary for this person to jump out of his seat in the middle of a presentation and acknowledge someone immediately? Because once you start seeing the power of acknowledgement, personal transformation occurs!

The 5 Cs will inspire all your stakeholders to perform their best and reach their highest possible levels of engagement. People simply can’t do enough to get the job done when they feel valued and appreciated. They grow loyal to the organization and committed to their jobs and their vision of what they can accomplish.

So here are the 5 Cs—not just for you to read, but to incorporate into your work immediately. I have been told by numerous people that they post the 5 Cs on their office walls and read them each day. You can share them in project meetings, discuss them with your team members, and commit to creating or enhancing a culture of appreciation that will benefit everyone—from the C-Suite to frontline employees in your company.

Through this series, I will describe each of the five Cs in more depth during the next five weeks. Stay tuned!

  1. Consciousness: Become Conscious of the acknowledgments and gratitude that you already have in your mind and spirit.
  2. Choice: It is your Choice whether to deliver the acknowledgment or to merely keep it floating around in your mind. Choose “yes” whenever possible!
  3. Courage: It is courageous to deliver heartfelt and authentic acknowledgment—it makes us vulnerable. If you feel that you need to summon Courage, you are on the right track!
  4. Communication: Determine the best way to reach your recipient. It is simple to Communicate your gratitude and appreciation once you choose to do so.
  5. Commitment: Once you witness the benefits of gratitude (for example, watch your people come alive, take more initiative, and work with more passion and engagement), Committing yourself to being a grateful leader becomes easy and logical.

Here’s a brief video to help you better understand the power of the 5 Cs.

To learn more about the Center for Grateful Leadership, a division of IIL, please visit International Institute for Learning.

Judith W. Umlas is Sr. Vice President, author and trainer at International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL), a global corporate training company.  She is the publisher of IIL Publishing, New York. She is also the author of the ground-breaking book, The Power of Acknowledgment ©2006, IIL Publishing, New York, which has been credited with changing workplaces and lives by making use of the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment she developed. Her book on Grateful Leadership, Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in association with IIL in early 2013 and You’re Totally Awesome! The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids was published in late 2013 by IIL Publishing.

Judith delivers inspiring, motivational, and transformational keynote addresses on Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment all over the world. She also leads webinars and teaches full day virtual and traditional courses to organizations such as Volvo, the U.S. Army, Prudential, JMP Engineering, the World Bank, Fannie Mae, IBM, AT&T, Google, Amway, CCL Industries, the New York Police Department, and many others. She has trained over 100,000 people through her leading edge, highly interactive and engaging courses, and keynotes – with outstanding and long-lasting results. She heads up the Center for Grateful Leadership, as division of IIL, whose members from around the world are committed to practicing and implementing the Grateful Leadership initiative in their organizations.

Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment are Judith’s passion and purpose!

This article has been modified and updated following the original publication here.

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Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.