By Judith W. Umlas | IIL Senior Vice President, Author, and Facilitator
When McGraw-Hill first decided to publish my second book (the first was The Power of Acknowledgment, published by IIL Publishing), I thought it should be called Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment. It felt right due to all of the positive experiences and wonderful stories that emerged training leaders in this initiative. “What would you think of a different title — Grateful Leadership?” asked my Editor.
Well, I didn’t have to THINK at all — I got a telltale case of half inch-high goosebumps at the suggestion, therefore I KNEW it was right. But then another thought hit me — that’s such a great title! There must be tons of articles and even books, websites, blog posts about that subject, I thought. I did a quick Google search and came up with what is known as a “Googlewhack”! What is that you may ask? It’s “exactly two words without quotation marks that returns exactly one hit”(according to Wikipedia). I couldn’t believe it!
This single “hit” was the 2010 article from the NASA CIO Blog by Linda Cureton called “Grateful Leadership.” It starts out this way: “As Thanksgiving approaches, this is the time of year when we reflect on the things that we want to be thankful for.”
I loved the thought behind this very well-written and inspiring article about how important it is for leaders to express their gratitude on this day, but my purpose was (and still is) to make every day a day of thanksgiving and gratitude.
That’s why I HAD to write this book. That’s why we have created the Center for Grateful Leadership. That’s why we have an unbelievably active and contributory community that is committed to the Grateful Leadership initiative, such as:
- Jim Trela of General Motors who delivers a weekly “Art of Grateful Leadership” podcast
- Don Officer, the Intention Coach who writes a monthly article connecting Grateful Leadership to many other books and disciplines that are emerging, in “The Gratitude Connection”
- The monthly acrostic, “The Attitude of Gratitude” by Harry Waldron
- The monthly live webinars with a featured guest presenter (which you can attend by signing up for the Center for Grateful Leadership)
- The “Teen Weekly” Instagram posts and Youtube videos by 3 Grateful Sisters
All of this is why IIL gives its total support to making Grateful Leadership training and resources available around the globe. That’s why I’m living my true purpose, my passion, and my mission as I write and speak and deliver keynotes to companies and groups of all sizes, industries and leadership levels – and in turn, helping to create more “Grateful Leaders.”
I believe that Grateful Leaders can make huge changes in the very way people do their work and how they feel about what they’re doing. By my definition, Grateful Leaders are those who see, recognize, and express appreciation and gratitude for their employees’ and other stakeholders’ contributions and for their passionate engagement, on an ongoing basis… By creating a culture of appreciation throughout their organization, in which people truly feel valued, these leaders motivate their followers to strive for continuous improvement and always greater results. *
There is no doubt in my mind that what everyone wants underneath it all is “Grateful Leadership,” and it’s just my job to make it available to all of those I possibly can. I’m an honored “messenger” for helping spread this work in order to help create a world that works. And you who are reading this are part of that world. You, too, are a messenger carrying this valued message far and wide with me.
And oh, by the way, if you Google “Grateful Leadership” now, you will get this startling response: “About 97,400,000 results”! So I guess we have come quite a distance… and we still have far to go. So join me, and join each other. And I hope all of you have a precious, grateful time full of acknowledgment and appreciation with family and friends during the holidays…and every day!
*Excerpted from Grateful Leadership: Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results by Judith W. Umlas (McGraw-Hill, 2013).
Judith W. Umlas is Sr. Vice President and trainer at International Institute for Learning, Inc. She is the author of the ground-breaking book, The Power of Acknowledgment and two other books which have been credited with changing workplaces and lives.
Judith delivers inspiring, motivational and transformational keynote addresses, course and webinars on Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment all over the world. Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment are Judith’s passion, mission, and her purpose!