On October third 1863 William Seward, then Secretary of State, penned the words of the Proclamation of Thanksgiving for President Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War raged and the United States was ripping itself apart from the inside out. Today, we are still instructed to give thanks in everything. We teach our children to say thank you. Etiquette, manners, and polite conduct all demand words and acts of gratefulness. Thankfulness within the leader is crucial.
Excerpts from the Proclamation of Thanksgiving – October 3rd, 1863
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy….I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens….
3 Byproducts of a Grateful Leader
Thankfulness places us in a position of humility. Leaders who are not thankful are arrogant, prideful leaders. Grateful leaders realize they follow as well as lead. Leaders who show true humility attract the best followers and the best leaders.
Gratefulness changes our perspective, it tells us we did not get here alone, we had help. In a society where we are challenged to make it on our own it is easy to take credit where credit is not due. A grateful leader is a leader who is quick to point out those who helped along the way and show his or her gratefulness.
Leaders proclaim, that is their responsibility. In order to be affective the leader needs an audience, someone who will listen. Someone who is thankful is listened to. An ungrateful person does not have an audience. Leaders need a platform in order to advance their cause, vision, or goal.
Do not underestimate the power of a thankful heart. The Bible tells us thanksgiving protects us from making futile decisions and a foolish heart (Romans 1:21). There is nothing worse than a futile-decision-making foolish leader.
Question: As a leader, what are you thankful for?