Let’s say, “thank you,” more often

Saying, “Thank you,” should be easy, but it passes our lips all too often. A simple, “Thank you,” generates so much INPowerment in ourselves and in others. Try to say, “Thank you,” 100 times a day, and it will soon become second nature.

thank you, recognition, express appreciation, Garland McWatters

Saying, “Thank you,” is therapeutic.

Think about the difference in how you feel when someone recognizes your act by saying, “thank you.” Studies show that when you say, “thank you,” others are more willing to do more for you in the future, and it makes you feel better, too.

Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, wrote that people who express their gratitude tend to be more healthy, physically and emotionally. Read it for yourself here. You’ll thank me.

I like the Thanksgiving holiday because it’s  a time to focus on the good things that have happened to me. I tend to find the silver linings in otherwise challenging situations and it opens my mind to realize that I am a very fortunate person, no matter what.

I’ve been paying attention lately to when I say, “thank you.” Here are some examples.

  • Someone held a door open for me (multiple times).
  • Someone noticed I dropped my credit card and called my attention to it. A big thank you for that one.
  • Someone offered to let me go ahead of them in line at the check out counter.
  • The wait staff filled my drink without my asking (about half the waiters do this consistently). I said, “Thank you,” every time they refilled my beverage, and when he brought the check.
  • Someone complimented me on the shirt I was wearing.
  • Several participants in a recent leadership LAB I presented stopped after class to say how much they appreciated the session. Another emailed me later. (That pumped me up.)
  • A driver let me in traffic on a busy, congested street when others just tried to crowd me out. I rolled down my window and waved at them and gave a thumbs up.
  • A vendor offered me a sample of BBQ chicken at a mall food court.
  • An usher took my ticket at the cinema and gave directions to the appropriate theatre.
  • My sister-in-law offered me her tickets to the philharmonic.
  • A friend invited me over to watch a football game.
  • A clerk in a hardware store asked me if I needed help finding an item. Then, she walked me to its location.
  • A customer called to place an order for more workbooks.

Those are just a few examples of the opportunities we have to say, “thank you.” Notice how often you say it, and when you miss an opportunity. Just noticing will also help you be more in the moment and pay attention to what’s going on around you. You’ll find even more opportunities to say, “Thank you.”

See my related post, “The power of Thank You.”

Say, “Thank you,” more often and find out how it helps you be more

Leadership training, leadership development, Garland McWatters

The INPowering nature of forgiveness

Leaders demonstrate strength when they make decisions through a spirit of forgiveness rather than through anger and indignation. Revenge is the easy way out.

forgiveness, forgiving others, Garland McWatters,

When someone wrongs us, we cry out for justice. We want that wrong avenged in some way that restores a balance. It’s the “eye for an eye” mentality.

To forgive means to pass on collecting a debt that you believe someone owes you. It does not mean that you believe the offender was correct or innocent in their offense.

Only the offended party can grant forgiveness. And it takes an INLightened heart and mind to be in an emotional place where forgiveness is possible.

Such INLightenment comes when you allow yourself to try to understand those who have offended you. You open the door to being able to forgive them, and you step onto the path of self-discovery.

Forgiveness is freedom of the heart.

When all you want is the justice due you, you are locked in to a narrow range of actions that do not guarantee you will find the satisfaction you seek.

But when you are able to forgive, you free yourself to think and act more creatively and constructively about what has happened and why.

Vengeance is laced with emotional outrage. Forgiveness flows from thoughtful introspection.

Do you emotionally react, or thoughtfully respond?

When you thoughtfully respond, you are able to explore deeper questions:

  • What happened?
  • Why did this person act that way toward me, or my friends and loved ones?
  • Was their action premeditated, accidental, or coincidental?
  • Was I totally innocent, or did I in some way contribute to the circumstances leading up to the offender’s actions?
  • Could I have done anything differently that would have prevented the offender’s behavior?
  • What is the appropriate response that produces the greatest good from this event? Vengeance or forgiveness?

When you act INPowered, you are able to think and act in more responsive ways that make the best out of a bad situation.

Cultivate your spirit of forgiveness, and you will be
Leadership training, leadership development, Garland McWatters

022: Are you getting your boss’s attention? [Podcast]


Garland McWatters. leadership developmentI’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of job situations. The overwhelming majority have been of the good variety. I’ve been very fortunate to get the boss’s attention and have excellent working relationships with all but one of my bosses.

I’ve also been the boss. And I can speak from experience about those who got my attention. In this episode of The Spirit of Leading, I list three qualities that worked for me and that I appreciated in others.

You can read the details in the about tab of my blogsite. Suffice it to say I’ve had the good fortune of being selected to board positions of my professional associations and civic groups. I’ve led important projects in my organizations. I’ve enjoyed several management leadership positions.

Through it all I would have to say I was successful because I got the attention of managers and leaders above me, and I did not realize they even noticed. I deeply appreciated and valued my relationship with those managers.

I believe anyone who follows these three tips will be noticed by her or his boss and enjoy the opportunity to step up and lead in their organization.


Why learning to follow will get you ahead

Why learning to follow will get you ahead

I’ve offered some of my best leadership as a follower. The art of following is being able to recognize when the leader is in a jam and then knowing how to step up and help from within the crowd without looking like you are taking over.

leader, follower, communication, teamwork, problem solving

Oddly enough, I learned a lot about following from learning how to dance. As the male, my role in the couple’s dance is to lead, and my female partner is the follower. But being the designated “leader” doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing.

An experienced partner (follower) sometimes would take control by a technique called back-leading and help me regain my footwork and rhythm. When I was back in time, she would relinquish the lead back to me. And the typical onlooker wouldn’t have noticed that anything had happened.

I appreciated the help because it made me look good as a dancer, and it made both of us look good as a dancing couple.

Here are three things I learned about how to be a valued partner and follower.

1. Connect with the leader so you can communicate.

lead, following, dancing, communicating, dance frameConnecting in the dance frame is the foundation of communicating. The frame is not a hug or an embrace. It is a firm and solid framework through which the direction of the dance is communicated. Both understand the cues that are invisible to anyone watching.

When you have a trusting connection with your leader, you understand their frame. You are in sync with their vision, their leadership style, and their ability. You understand what they are doing and why.

2. Recognize when the leader needs help.

A talented follower is able to sense the cues and move accordingly. When the frame is in tact, a follower can sense when the leader is stumbling or uncertain. The cues might be subtle–a waver in timing or momentary hesitation.

As a follower, I could sense when my leader was off balance. Because we enjoyed a trusting communication frame, I knew when he was off message or struggling in his leader role. His tone, inflection, and body language changed almost imperceptibly, and I caught it immediately.

I also experienced this from the leader role. My most trusted and connected staff knew when I was struggling or uncertain about what next steps to take. They stepped in to help me through the stumble, and I appreciated their loyalty and support.

3. Offer support and direction to help the leader regain form.

Just like my dance partner, a talented follower knows the technique of back-leading. They can momentarily assert themselves to help the leader regain control.

Back-leading is not wresting control from the leader, but keeping the dance moving forward without looking like anything had happened. There was no lapse in leadership.

This kind of support comes in offering a question or statement to redirect a conversation that has drifted off point. It might be asserting oneself between the leader and an adversary to break the tension or give the leader time to regroup. There are a number of ways an attentive follower can rescue the moment so the leader can resume control.

I have both offered and received this kind of support, and the end result was a deeper sense of trust and appreciation for the partnership I enjoyed with both my own leader and those who supported me on my team.

If you want to become an excellent leader,
learn to be a great follower.
That’s a sure way to become
Leadership training, leadership development, Garland McWatters

No excuses leadership

No excuses leadership

no excuses, empowerment, authenticity, accountability, responsibility, Garland McWattersINPowered leaders do not make excuses; they make a difference. Often, the real breakthroughs we have are when we own up to the truth about our shortcomings and take corrective action.

Fessing up has several powerful therapeutic benefits.

First: It feels good to unburden yourself. Let it go. Confession is good for the soul. We spend a lot of emotional energy suppressing a truth that wants to come out.

I know in my heart whether I made a mistake or didn’t give my best effort. Rather than finding excuses for it, I find it liberating to say that I messed up

Second: Consequently, fessing up releases you emotionally and mentally to get on with improving yourself or fixing a problem.

Step one to healing relationships is saying, “I’m sorry.” Now, you can turn your attention to making the relationship better.

Accepting responsibility gives you proactive momentum. Your mental energy can be focused on solution finding.

I have found that when I take responsibility for a situation, I also own the solution finding space. Others look to me to take the lead. I am more in control of the next steps.

Third: Fessing up lets you treat others authentically. Since you have nothing to hide, others can feel more at ease to be honest and authentic with you in return.

When you relax, others can see your humanity, which is more relatable than some artificial façade. A side benefit is others become more forgiving and supportive when they feel they know the real you.

Here’s an added benefit

Fessing up robs critics of the energy they get from playing the blame game.

Critics and naysayers feed off the bad vibes you generate from all the energy you are using to suppress your hidden truth. When you fess up, you turn the tables and shut off their energy source.

Leaders lead.

Your workplace, your family, and your community need you to be an example of authentic leadership.

Being accountable,
accepting responsibility,
and bravely telling your truth will make you more
Leadership training, leadership development, Garland McWatters