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Creating Successful Leaders

Let me state right away that if you’re looking for a shopping list, this isn’t the article for you! The “gifts” that I’m talking about today have to do with time, intention, and kindness. To me, these types of gifts are worth far more than any purchases you could make. They center on humanity and creating a more harmonious workspace, home, neighborhood, and world.

My list includes 6 different gifts you can easily give to others. How might life change if we all attempted to give each other these gifts every day?

1. The gift of attentiveness

People can usually tell when you’re listening…and they can tell when you’re more interested in your phone, your grocery list, or whatever is on your laptop screen. Practice being present for others. Tuck your distractions away and give them your full, undivided attention. In a world brimming with distractions, your attentiveness is truly a valuable gift.

[For more on good listening practices, click here!]

2. The gift of punctuality

Show others that you respect them and their time by making an effort to be punctual. If you were meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, would you show up late? Almost certainly not! You wouldn’t dream of it. Then, why would you show up late for a Zoom meeting with a co-worker? That says something about how much you value and respect them and their time, doesn’t it? And if you are running late (it happens!), send a quick message to let that person know. It’s a quick and courteous thing to do.

3. The gift of follow-through

When you say you’re going to do something, do it. It really is that simple. Nothing can destroy trust faster than not following through with a promise. Conversely, if you do make an effort to stay true to your word, meet deadlines, and follow through, you will build yourself an excellent reputation. In other words, keeping your commitments is not only a gift to others, it is also a gift to yourself.

4. The gift of kind gestures

A small, kind gesture can make a world of difference. Help an elderly neighbor carry their groceries, tip your delivery driver well, give someone a compliment, donate a few dollars to a nonprofit or a “Go Fund Me.” When you wake up in the morning with the goal of practicing at least one or two acts of kindness, it makes your whole day better. You begin to think about opportunities to make positive change in the world, and THAT can improve your entire outlook on life.

5. The gift of gratitude

We often take the people in our lives for granted. Make an effort to say thank you for the little things, and genuinely mean it! Let others (your co-workers, your spouse, the cashier you regularly see at the grocery store) know that you appreciate their presence in your life.

When others go above and beyond, you may also want to send a handwritten thank you note to convey your gratitude. Let them know, specifically, why you appreciate them.

6. The gift of empathy

How might life improve if we all took the time to (at the very least) attempt to understand others? Even if you don’t quite understand another’s perspective, you can make a concerted effort to place yourself in their shoes, ask good questions, and try to empathize with their point of view. Before conversing with someone, do your best to set aside judgments and just listen. Even if you don’t end up agreeing, your efforts will open dialogues and create bridges.

Which gifts can you give others today? Pick a couple of items on this list, think about how you will incorporate them into your day, and start giving! Amazing things start to happen when we focus on being kind and understanding to others.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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