We all know a great leader when we see one, and to be sure bad leaders aren't hard to spot either. Leaders who are responsible, engaged, and effective may have different approaches, but there's no doubt they get the job done. By doing so they earn the respect of others within the organization, and outside. But leadership can sometimes be a thankless, time-consuming challenge--so no matter what kind of leaders you have in your life, show them some appreciation and give thanks. Here are a few leaders to be especially thankful for!
The Problem-Solver. One of the most impressive and important qualities of a leader is the ability to solve problems. Leaders who are less worried about their personal ladder to success and more interested in finding solutions to all sorts of problems are leaders worth following. Problem solvers ask questions without judgement, and when they're not busy solving problems they're looking for ways to improve or fine-tune things. They have an appreciation for unique approaches, and perspectives, and those who solve problems outside the typical and they listen to and consider all sorts of ideas. If your boss is that kind of leader, be sure and thank that problem-solver and offer a high-five!
The Visionary. When leaders articulate their personal vision for the team, in an honest way, and when the path to that vision includes everyone on the team, people are more likely to buy-in. No one wants to work to solve a problem they don't understand. If the vision is a mystery or is poorly communicated, people have a hard time following. Successful visionaries are great at communicating, the where, the why, and the overall destination. A visionary is great at keeping objectives and goals within the mission, and tactfully trimming out or avoiding anything that doesn't directly promote the vision. Visionaries are going places, and want to take the team with them! If you're leader is a visionary, be sure and show some love!
The Trustworthy. Trustworthy leaders don't micromanage. We all know micromanagers have trust issues, and they don't trust the people around them to do the jobs they were hired to do. Trustworthy leaders communicate their trust, and include others in the decision making process, seek the counsel of the experts on the team, and allow people grow. Trust is a two-way street. Leaders who expect the trust of the team, but refuse to trust them sow dysfunction. Trustworthy leaders provide freedom and opportunity, and regularly express faith in the team's expertise by words and in action. That type of trust earns unmatched loyalty and commitment. If you trust your leader, and the leader trusts you, show some gratitude and give 'em a fist-bump!
The Authentic. Sadly, inauthentic leadership is common these days. Dedicated or committed team members pick up on those in leadership who are misplaced. It's difficult to express gratitude for disinterested, superficial, or gossipy leaders. Those who flatter people to avoid exercising leadership, are not doing anyone any favors either. Real, genuine leaders are honest, direct, and engaged with their team. Because they appreciate authenticity, they deliberately encourage that quality in their team too, by encouraging diversity, and unique perspectives. Teams will follow a genuine leader through the fire because they know, trust, and believe the leader has the team's best interest at heart, and they know their unique contribution is valued. If you know an authentic leader, then three cheers for you! Be sure and offer up a genuine toast at your next office party!
The Servant-Leader. Some of the best leaders are those who approach their work, mission, and vision from a servant perspective. Servant-Leaders are a rare breed and typically inspire others into service. They are often socially aware, and understand the importance of social or emotional intelligence. Because of that, they are often more heavily invested in the day-to-day work and are more invested in their team. Servant-leaders can be found modeling a servant-related approach, and communicate the importance or mission of the work as part of a greater vision. If you're lucky enough to work with a servant-leader, you probably need to say "Thanks a latte' and spring for the next cup-o-joe!
The Thankful Leader. Finally, obviously this is not an exhaustive list and some may disagree, but most people want to please their leaders! There's no doubt that it's possible for leaders to have multiple leadership approaches or qualities. One quality that makes a good, responsible, effective leader great is that of thankfulness. Great leaders of all kinds, realize they don't get the job done alone, and they express appreciation regularly. They are appreciative of the collaborative and individual contributions of the team and they find ways to show their gratitude throughout the year. If you're a leader be thankful for those who help you accomplish so much and those who look out for the daily details.
If you recognize your leader here and that leader regularly expresses gratitude--then for that be thankful this season...be incredibly thankful, and remember to be a team member everyone else can be thankful for too!