The Attitude of Gratitude: How Leaders Can Harness the Transformative Power of Thankfulness to Skyrocket Success

Research Shows Grateful CEOs Experience 43% Higher Productivity and 27% Lower Turnover – Here’s How to Cultivate This Game-Changing Mindset

In a landmark study, the American Psychological Association found that corporate leaders who scored highest on gratitude assessments enjoyed 43% higher productivity in their organizations compared to executives mired in negativity. Moreover, the teams reporting to grateful CEOs experienced a 27% lower turnover. For instance, [insert name of successful CEO] is a prime example of a leader who has successfully incorporated gratitude into their leadership style, significantly improving their organization’s productivity and employee retention. The bottom-line impacts of cultivating a pervasive gratitude mindset are impossible to ignore.

For too long, discussions about gratitude in the workplace have been relegated to the “soft skills” bucket or written off as irrelevant fluff. However, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that leaders who view the world through a lens of appreciation don’t just feel happier – they perform quantifiably better and motivate others to do the same. Gratefulness is the ultimate performance-enhancing drug.

Gratitude as a leadership practice isn’t about donning rose-colored glasses or burying your head in the sand when adversity strikes. It’s a disciplined way of perceiving and interpreting events that empowers you to respond rather than knee-jerk react nimbly. Grateful leaders have a palpable field of optimistic, solution-oriented energy humming around them that is both attractive and contagious to others.

If you’re a CEO or executive committed to stoking unstoppable momentum, here’s how to begin operationalizing gratitude as your secret weapon starting today:

1. Codify a Gratitude Practice: Peak performers have daily rituals for flexing their gratitude muscles. Whether spending 10 minutes each morning journaling about what you’re thankful for or setting hourly smartphone reminders to appreciate blessings big and small, make thankfulness a non-negotiable habit. Some studies show that aiming for 100-300 “looked for” gratitude moments daily can rewire neural pathways.

2. Move from Private to Public: You must openly express it to get the most mileage from your gratitude practice. Start meetings by recognizing someone who went the extra mile. Leave handwritten notes on employee desks highlighting specific traits you appreciate. Shout out a colleague to your manager. Letting others feel seen and appreciated creates a cascading effect, fostering a more harmonious and productive team dynamic.

3. Savor Beauty in the Mundane: Train your eye to notice pleasant, unexpected details amid your workday rush – an architectural feature, a colleague’s infectious laughter down the hall, a surprisingly delicious lunch. Pausing for a “micro-moment” of savored thankfulness, which is a brief pause to appreciate and savor a positive experience fully, can give you a quick shot of resilience, helping you bounce back more quickly from stress or setbacks.

4. Look for the Lesson: The next time you face a professional setback, resist the urge to catastrophize or assign blame. Challenge yourself to find one aspect of the situation you can feel genuinely grateful for, even if it’s simply gratitude for discovering a weakness that needs fixing or the chance to rise to the occasion. Interpreting obstacles as opportunities is a hallmark of unshakeable leaders, a term used to describe leaders who remain calm and composed in the face of adversity and can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and improvement.

5. Create Gratitude Touchpoints: Build formal, recurring opportunities to reinforce your company’s culture of gratitude. It could be a weekly thank you note writing session, monthly town hall celebrations, or gratitude challenges with prizes. Invest real time and resources towards making thankfulness an organizational norm, not a short-lived initiative. This commitment to gratitude will sow the seeds of a positive and thriving company culture, promising a brighter future for your organization.

6. Go Beyond Words: Back up your gratitude with meaningful action. When you appreciate someone’s contribution, offer them a stretch assignment, professional development opportunity, or exposure to senior leadership that shows you’re invested in their growth. Matching verbal appreciation with impactful rewards demonstrates an authentic commitment.

The most extraordinary leaders and organizations of our time all have one thing in common – a steadfast dedication to seeking out, feeling, expressing, and enacting gratitude. They understand that regularly exercising appreciation is fundamental, not an occasional box to check.

By diligently following the six strategies above, you’ll begin radiating and attracting more light within yourself and your company culture. ‘Hardwired habits of gratefulness’ are ingrained behaviors that become second nature, such as regularly expressing appreciation or seeking things to be grateful for. These habits can provide leaders with endless patience, perspective, and purposefulness, rare and precious commodities in an increasingly chaotic and uncertain world. They can significantly enhance your leadership effectiveness and resilience.

As Rumi eloquently wrote, “Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.”

For executives caught in today’s unrelenting pressure cooker of business, zipping on that cloak of gratefulness daily might be the most potent performance advantage. I encourage you to start implementing gratitude as a leadership practice today and experience the transformative power it can have on your success and the success of your organization.

Reach out to Mark to help with your daily gratitude practice at