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The power of gratitude

Posted on 06 September 2020

Why expressing your gratitude can take you further than you think

Sometimes a picture hits you and makes you stop and think. That’s what happened to me when I came across this on the web (You can find it at You give me faith).

Our grab-and-go, macho, Hamburger Management organizations aren’t big on gratitude: they’re much more focused on what they can get—preferably for nothing. They also carry around this fixed mental assumption that people only do things for some material reward. That’s why their idea of “incentives” always comes back to money.

Not only is this picture of the world wrong, it’s insulting to all the decent people out there who still believe in civilized values and know just how much we depend on one another. Ignoring gratitude makes you selfish, and being selfish makes you vulnerable.

It’s becoming a gratitude-free world in some places

If everyone is out for themselves, you can expect neither help nor consideration when you get into trouble. You are truly alone, with only your own strength and cunning to depend on. Worse, you can firmly expect others to try to trip you up, if they can, since you represent nothing to them but competition.

That, of course, is exactly the behavior you find from assholes and those whose only aim in life is to climb to the top, probably over the bodies of those they encounter along the way. They’ll take your help, if you are willing to offer it. Hell, they usually demand it. Just don’t expect any gratitude or help in return.

These jerks aren’t dumb, of course. They know perfectly well that their style of operation—their game plan—is a case of “eat or be eaten.” They know how vulnerable it makes them, which is precisely why they are so ruthless. In a world without gratitude, only those at the very top have any security—and theirs only lasts just so long as they can hang on to that alpha position.

It’s time to call a halt

Gratitude isn’t just a pleasant trait, it’s also a very powerful one.

Thanking others and recognizing how much we all depend on support and co-operation makes it far more likely that help will be there when you need it. Those who help others most freely are most likely to be helped in their turn—provided that gratitude as recognized for what it is: a major constituent in the glue that holds together groups of all sizes, from a few friends to society as a whole.

A grateful customer is more likely to overlook future mistakes and stay loyal despite the temptations offered by competitors. A grateful employee is less likely to leave when times get tough. Grateful colleagues pull together. Grateful bosses trust their people more and are trusted more in return.

You cannot buy goodwill of that kind, no matter what incentives you offer. Today’s bonus may become tomorrow’s expectation, but genuine gratitude can last for a lifetime.

It’s good to see that some people still value it as it deserves.


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This post was written by:

Carmine Coyote - who has written 287 posts on Slow Leadership.

Carmine Coyote is the founder and editor of Slow Leadership, with a career that stretches from early employment as an economist, through periods in government service, academia and several multinational companies, to retiring as CEO of a US consulting company and partner in a large business services firm. Carmine now lives in Arizona, but is British for all that.

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. zurtri says:

    I wonder what would happen if a manager called an employee into their office, simply to thank them.

    That’s it, just a thank you notinhg else.


  2. zurtri says:

    By the way the mysql errors are due to a programming bug. The error is to do with the embedded sql statement.

    They should use joins to get around this. Alternatively as the code seems to be working they should turn off the error reporting.

    I would contact the maker of the blog software anyhoo and see what they say. Good luck trying to get through to the tech guys.

    Good luck Carmine!

  3. Carmine Coyote says:

    I think, Zurtri, that you would have a more productive, happier, more creative environment — and probably a more profitable one as well.

    I’m always amazed how many managers seem to think showing gratitude is a sign of weakness ‚Äî or that it will somehow weaken their authority.

    Where do they get these cracked-brained ideas?

    Keep reading, my friend.

  4. Carmine Coyote says:

    Thanks, I’ll see what I can do.

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