Real Leaders Show Gratitude & Appreciation

By | January 30, 2019

[January 30, 2019]  A few years ago I found my very first Platoon Leader on a military website.  He had pinned mosquito wings (Private E-2) onto my collar while stationed in Siegelsbach, West Germany and given me some much-needed assistance and advice.  I was able to show gratitude and appreciation for his help by thanking him.

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop, Greek fabulist and storyteller

None of us, not even the most independent, have made it here entirely on your own.  There are those who have raised us, put up with our antics, loved us throughout, and helped us through difficult times.  They are also compassionate enough to tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.  Take some time to thank them.  Don’t put it off.

I never took the time to properly thank my grandparents who made it possible for me to be a better person.  Deep down, I know they understand, as they always did and as parents always seem to find a way to understand.  But it is still a burden I will carry to my grave.  Take some time to thank those who helped you.

A simple thank-you will do wonders.  You may never know how much that expression of gratitude and appreciation will mean.  I thanked my old Platoon Leader (at the time a First Lieutenant but retiring as a Colonel) for all he had done for me and for being compassionate enough to tell me about my deficiencies when I was a Private.

I told him that after his 30 years of military service that I was probably among a long list of soldiers who had contacted him to thank him for what he had done for us and his long and honorable service; including combat in Vietnam.  He said, “No, you’re the first.”

With the wisdom that only comes with the passage of years, senior soldiers warned me presciently and ominously, “Son, you live long enough in combat, and you’ll see.”  They were right; on so right.  Being a soldier is humbling and one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Surviving and succeeding are made up of a series of decisions; some harder than others, some good and some bad.

What makes us better is that we learn from them and have people like First Lieutenant Fujimori at our side.  He taught me that in the U.S. Army that life is not easy for any of us.  He and many others of this generation of military leaders had earned their way the hard way; by the harsh realities of war and the unfairness of a peacetime bureaucracy.  He taught me that to show gratitude and appreciation are the hallmarks of a moral leader.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Real Leaders Show Gratitude & Appreciation

  1. lydia truman

    Gratitude and appreciation have been recognized since the beginning of humankind. Here is one of my favorite quotes of Meister Eckhart (German theologian, philosopher and mystic):
    “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

    Reply
    1. Roger Yellowmule

      Yes, well said. Thank you Lyida for bringing up Meister Eckhart. Most don’t know of him in the US but he was a great philosopher.

      Reply
  2. Scotty Bush

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus

    Reply
  3. Willie Shrumburger

    The grateful man is a humble man. He has no illusions of his grandeur. He knows that bad things happen to good people. He knows how easily a rally can turn into a slump. He knows how much worse off many others are than he is. He understands the sacrifices others make on his behalf. And he deeply, deeply appreciates them.

    Reply
  4. José Luis Rodriguez

    “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” Written by Dalai Lama

    Reply
  5. Big Al

    A common but necessary topic to discuss. I enjoyed it while drinking my morning cup of coffee. Thanks for showing us what gratitude and appreciation are all about. 😊

    Reply
  6. Max Foster

    The world’s most prominent researcher and writer about gratitude, Robert Emmons, defines it as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” You could strive to feel grateful by noticing how fortunate your circumstances are (and how much worse they could be), by calling an old mentor and thanking him for guiding you through one of life’s crossroads, by relishing moments with your child, or by recalling all the good things in your life at present.

    Reply
  7. Andrew Dooley

    “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” by A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

    Reply
    1. Dale Paul Fox

      A truer statement could not have been made by Piglet. Great cartoon series.

      Reply
  8. Danny Burkholder

    Be thoughtful of others. While you must take care of you, it is important to also think of others first. Consider someone else’s feelings with every action and word.

    Reply
  9. Greg Heyman

    Gen. Satterfield, I recommend you write an article under “good habits” about daily ways to show gratitude and appreciation. Here is an example that I read:
    “Next time, skip the email or text and verbalize your thanks to that awesome co-worker. Showing gratitude by verbally acknowledging someone can really make his or her day (and boost your own mood, too!). ” from Lifehacker

    Reply
  10. Forrest Gump

    “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Eph. 5:20

    Reply
  11. Eva Easterbrook

    Make it a habit to tell people thank you. Express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. That is what my parents taught me growing up and I’ve lived by those words my entire life. Remember to appreciate life and you’ll find you have more of it.

    Reply
  12. Janna Faulkner

    US Pres John F. Kennedy once said that “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

    Reply

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