Gratitude Lessons From Leaders
As the host of the Gratitude Centered podcast, Tuesday’s Thanks, I have had the opportunity to interview over 100 senior leaders in a variety of industries as well as artists and authors. The podcast takes the listener though the personal and professional journey of the guest allowing them to Thank individuals who have helped them along the way. Now, it would be easy to fall into just listening for interesting stories, tales of camaraderie and seeing who the guest Thanks (all great reasons to listen by the way) but if you pay attention, you pick up themes on what made these leaders successful and how they see giving back to younger managers on their way up.
Arguably the most common theme I hear from the guests – is just Say Yes. Say yes to a new assignment, say yes to a new location, say yes to a new project. If the boss thinks enough of you to select you then by all means accept it and be thankful that the boss thinks so highly of you and your efforts. As Geoff Ballotti, CEO at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, spoke about. “What I say to every student I talk to or any younger executive in this industry in terms of my success was that flexibility allowed me take on all roles offered to me. We see executives in this industry or in any industry be inflexible in terms of looking for opportunity outside the corporate office or the state or the country or the region that they're operating in and there's opportunity all around us so take it.”
This is a little more complex in that the guests were very Thankful for their leaders to have seen something in them to push them into roles that they had not imagined for themselves. Many of the guests I have interviewed have said they would not be where they were today had their mentors not challenged them to believe that they could take on new and often times pushed them into new roles that they themselves would not have raised their hands for. This one hit home with me when I look back and Thank leaders like Rick Suhl and Dave Milus from my days at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. I was humming along as General Manager when out of nowhere these two amazing leaders selected me to help start up a new team overseeing our New Builds and Transitions. Now, I had zero experience in this area, didn’t even know it was a thing but they both saw something in me and pushed me to take the role – which turned out to be the best 10 years of my career – a position I never would have investigated if it were not for them.
Belief in the Possibilities.
This theme is very apparent when I speak with successful female leaders at all levels. It is the belief that they, as young female managers, are now more than ever able to see themselves as senior leaders because of the women that came before them and have successfully climbed the corporate ladder to positions of great leadership. Christina Poon, General Manager at the W New York Union Square, tells the story of her relationship with Joy Pappas – one of the first female General Managers that she had met. It was Joy’s intelligence, leadership, and style that reinforced Christina’s belief that she too could become a General Manager and more. Today’s successful women in business are such a guiding light for the next generation and I am so pleased to see so many of them dedicating time and energy to mentoring young women as they get into the corporate world at all levels.
So as I continue my journey of bringing the stories of gratitude and recognition to life via Tuesday’s Thanks podcast, I am intrigued at how important they are to building a successful and happy life. It also bolsters my belief that companies and industries need to do even more to implement a true culture of Gratitude and Recognition on a daily basis. We invest in technology; we invest in capital programs but ask yourself – “How much does your company invest in Gratitude and Recognition?” The answer may surprise you.
Brian Proctor is the host of the popular podcast Tuesday’s Thanks and founder of Leeds Hospitality Group, specializing in advising companies on Gratitude & Recognition Programs as well as Hospitality management.