Athena In Action December 2, 2019

Salon Highlights: Grace Under Fire—What It Takes to Lead with Gratitude

By The Athena Alliance

Being grateful makes you a better leader. Athena members recently learned how grace and gratitude improve company culture, bring teams together, and motivate every individual to perform their best when the stakes are high. Gail Hendrix, director of learning and development for USPS, recently led an engaging members-only salon on why guts, grit, grace, and gratitude are critical for women leaders.

Read our key takeaways below. Athena members can view the full recording in the Resource Library.

  1. Gratitude is deliberate. Take a moment to reflect and consider how well you manage grace and gratitude in difficult times. When people turn to you as a leader, do they see someone who is graceful? How do they feel about your deliberateness in gratitude?
  2. As a leader, how do you show grace? Gail defines grace as “being humble enough to say ‘I don’t know.'” To seek knowledge from those I have the privilege of leading, To make a place where you’re actively listening. Spend time just talking to your team and hearing their aspirations. Sometimes grace is being okay with having fun, even if you look silly. Let your hair down at times. Be your authentic self.” Grace means being humble enough to show who you are on the inside, not who your title or responsibilities want you to be.
  3. Deliberately bake gratitude into your programs. Gail created a gratitude center in her office, providing thank you notes and chocolate so colleagues could thank each other for good deeds. As another intentional practice of gratitude, Gail calls one person every weekend who she’s worked with or supervised during her career to see how they’re doing, hear their most powerful new experience, and thank them for their impact.
  4. You may fear being seen as “too soft” by practicing grace and gratitude in your leadership. Be appreciative of the work your team does and the energy they bring to the table while still holding them accountable for a job well done. “Keep the main thing the main thing,” Gail explained. When something difficult is happening, ask yourself “Who do I need to be as a leader to keep us moving toward that main thing?”

Interested in unlocking access to our exclusive, curated events? Learn more about Athena’s executive development program for women leaders.