It can be argued that having a strong leadership style is one of the most important ingredients of a successful business. Leaders have the power to motivate, encourage, guide, mentor, organize, inspire, and galvanize a strong workforce and impart their values and beliefs into almost every function of a business. Because of the deeply rooted relationship between small businesses and their communities, small business owners, like yourself, often take the de facto role of a community leader as well.
However, many business scholars know that earning respect as a leader isn’t always handed over or easily won. There are some leadership styles that are less effective at engaging employees and inspiring productivity. Having the right approach to leadership makes all the difference in getting the results that you are looking for. During our conversations with small business owners, and especially now during this time of uncertainty, we heard a common theme from those that had to adapt to stay-at-home and social distancing initiatives: showing gratitude.
A little gratitude can go a long way, especially when it comes to an inspiring leadership style. In fact, there are many schools of thought that suggest that incorporating gratitude into your leadership style opens the door to more collaboration, creativity, motivation, and productivity. You’ve probably noticed that the name of our platform comes from a combination of “seed” and “leadership.” This is because we believe that with the right leadership, acts of kindness have the potential to spread and grow across the entire community.
The principles of gratitude lend themselves to our plant, grow, share model: each act of charity are the seeds that are planted, the people involved in this charitable act are able to nurture the seeds of kindness into something larger, and sharing the results of the charitable act can help spread and amplify the positivity farther than just your immediate surroundings.
Let’s dive into more about how leadership through gratitude has the power to transform your charitable giving acts, and your business growth trajectory, altogether.
Why do people show thanks in the first place? Well, since childhood, showing gratitude for things that people go out of their way to do for you is learned as “good manners.” However, there’s more to showing gratitude than just saying thank you for something you receive. Showing gratitude is a way to give back and share the kindness that was shown to you.
Sometimes, the intentions behind what was given can be more impactful than the objects received. Think about it, say your coworker stopped by the bakery in the morning and picked up an extra pastry for you. For us, the thought and the intention behind the act would mean more than the baked good itself (no matter how tasty it may be). Just a small, simple act like this can really make someone’s day and inspire them to be more positive towards others.
Showing gratitude is also scientifically connected with greater happiness. Some researchers say that gratitude pushes people to encounter more positivity, to thoroughly enjoy experiences, motivates them towards healthier habits, stand up to adversity, and maintain and develop stronger relationships with others. In short, being thankful for those around you sets up an environment where positivity and fulfillment can thrive.
Extending gratitude to your leadership style can produce the same positive correlations for your employees, customers, and for your company as well. These days employees and consumers, particularly of the Millennial and Zoomer cohorts, are seeking out organizations that put community giving and charity as a visible part of their business. Making the charity your business does visible and easy-to-find helps give your supporters partial ownership in the success of your charitable giving.
Sharing the results of your giving campaign, or getting employees and customers involved in the campaign helps increase engagement and can lead to deeper connections. Giving back and doing good for your community and your neighbors can help lead your business, employees, and customers through showing gratitude to the community that makes your business possible.
We’ve had the wonderful opportunity to speak one-on-one with many local small business owners over the past few months about how they are using kindness and charity to help make it through the 2020 global coronavirus pandemic.Throughout these interviews, we’ve heard of many challenges that forced these business leaders to rethink and refocus their businesses to adapt to the needs of their communities. One such leader, Davina Ismail, co-owner of INI Sips premium coffee and tea shop in New Britain, Connecticut, shared how showing gratitude helped inspire an idea that helped kick start her business.
Davina, her USMC veteran husband, and their three kids opened their coffee and tea shop in January 2020, just a few months before the coronavirus pandemic turned into a global concern in March. During our chat (watch it in full here), Davina told us how the pandemic really threw a wrench in all her expectations as a new business owner. She knew she had to quickly shift gears in order to keep the business going, and saw a great opportunity to speak and connect with customers online.
INI Sips has an online ordering system that allows for customers all over the nation to order their coffee in bulk online. Davina was able to perceive the desire of everyone in the community wanting to be a part of the solution to the coronavirus problem. From this, the idea behind their buy two 12oz bags of coffee and donate one to first responders, healthcare workers, and community heroes was born. Since launching the program on their website, Davina estimates INI Sips has been able to donate around 150 pounds of coffee and tea to these essential workers, and has been able to expand her business as well.
“Showing gratefulness is really important to us because a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way. We really do get excited when someone orders, because we sit back and we think our coffee is making someone’s morning right now.” And it was through this sentiment of showing thanks and appreciation to frontline workers that helped INI Sips connect their customers, employees, and community together and grow.
Saying thank you and showing gratitude has the power to uplift and inspire, especially now when the world needs it the most. Extending your thanks to your customers, employees, and partners can help create more engagement around your business and your purpose, and has the potential to influence more charity and positivity throughout the community. Good leaders are able to earn respect from their employees and community by starting from a place of positivity and gratefulness. With seedership, we enable business owners like you to show appreciation to your community through one visual storytelling platform.
Connect and share the good that your business does for the community with visual tools that integrate seamlessly with your digital online presence through your website, social media, and more. Tell your customers how grateful you are to them for helping you reach a fund-raising goal, or participating in a collection drive with a few clicks of a button. Keep them in the loop and extend the positivity of your charitable giving campaigns by sharing the good your business is doing in the places your customers are looking to support your business.