• Sarah Happel, MS, MCC

Leading with a Lens of Gratitude: Love L&D

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer In our last newsletter, we discussed recognition and the value it has on showing appreciation of your team members, but is recognition the same as gratitude? According to a Forbes article, it’s important not just to recognize someone for what they accomplish, but actually express gratitude for all the work they put into it. As a leader, how do I light the flame within others? One of the best ways to show gratitude & recognition is by investing in leadership development (L&D) programs. As we close out the year, we wanted to share some powerful reflections we have heard from grateful L&D program participants: “Having a program like this has allowed me to truly connect with others I have worked with for years. I never really knew them but I do now.” “I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity at work. It has forced me to slow down and really reflect on what kind of leader I need to be and the culture we are building here. I never would have done that on my own.” “I’ve worked here for over 20 years and never had conversations like this. It has been a true gift and I see myself differently.” “I went through this program 10 years ago and it changed my life. Now I’m back as a mentor telling you to take every advantage of this opportunity to find out who you really are.” L&D programs should send the following message:

  • You have talent.

  • Your contributions are seen and appreciated.

  • We want you to become the best version of yourself; and are paying you to do so.

Too often we see organizations miss the opportunity to reinforce this important message. Participants seem confused as to why they are there. Or they think an L&D program is remedial and they are receiving it to “get fixed.” Even worse, top leadership believes every leader in the organization needs this – except themselves.


Displaying gratitude can be showcased in many ways – through conversation, a handwritten note, gift, award, or accolade, but what we have found to be themost impactful gesture of gratitude is investing in your people.


Here are a few ways to embrace your leadership programs and further recognize your workforce:

  1. Be thoughtful in choosing who is awarded this opportunity. Take time to personally invite them into the experience. Keep numbers low and allow them flexibility in deciding if the timing and commitment works.

  2. Role-model your enthusiasm for life-long learning. Share your own success stories of professional development and be involved in L&D initiatives. Have senior leadership kick-off the program or a subject matter expert pop in for 30 minutes of networking before each session.

  3. Set boundaries with clients and stakeholders for L&D commitments. Don't make your workforce have to pick between billable hours or self-development. This allows participants to be fully present while showing your clients you truly value investing in your people.

  4. Acknowledge & celebrate with your employees for partaking in an L&D initiative and their commitment to professional development. Attend the final session, showcase their achievements and keep the learning going.

Here are articles we found helpful on the topic: How to Create a Culture of Gratitude in the Workplace Leaders Who Show Gratitude Get More Accomplished Why your Employees Need Leadership Training L&D and training doesn’t have to be a slog. It can be impactful and yes, even a life-changing way to recognize your employees. And we can all be grateful for that. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter and rest. We are grateful for you. To gain more leadership insight in the new year, be sure to join our email list! Spectrum Leadership Solutions Team

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