Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I enjoy the gathering of family and friends and look forward to the feast, especially the leftovers. More importantly, I love the reason for the day itself. It is a time to express gratitude for the abundance we have in our lives.
Thanksgiving also is a change manager’s holiday because in my experience, I have found that leaders who maintain feelings of gratitude and abundance are significantly better equipped to manage the challenges of change.
There is a large body of research that has demonstrated that grateful people have higher levels of control of their environment, are better able to cope with difficulties, and more likely to engage others in solving problems. They also are less likely to try to avoid or deny there is a problem, blame themselves or use other negative coping strategies. In addition, grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships.
An attitude of abundance has a similar impact. Those who think abundantly understand that there are plenty of resources for everybody. They have a strong sense of self that is not challenged by the needs, desires, success or acquired resources of others. They also understand that resistance to change comes from a fear of loss or of a decreased ability to get personal needs met. They are patient and know if they stay focused on collaborative problem solving, all challenges can be resolved and the needs of all parties can be satisfied.
Gratitude helps leaders adapt to the challenges of change because they see obstacles as opportunities for learning, growth and improved results. An attitude of abundance helps leaders stay open to the world of possibilities for satisfying the needs of all. Both take leaders beyond simple respect and courtesy in their interactions and toward the mutual acceptance, appreciation, and understanding required for to engage others in the process of change.