Between Gratitude and Assertion

We should all be grateful.

Grateful for our jobs and options and networks and technologies. Grateful for the good stuff we have going on in our lives. Practicing the attitude of gratitude is healthy and is to be encouraged. It leads to greater feelings of happiness, optimism and self-worth.

Gratitude has a dark side, however. Sometimes others weaponise it in order to keep us in our box:
“You should just be grateful you have a job!”, or
“Be grateful things aren’t even worse than they already are!”

Or, perhaps even more common and detrimental, we personally misuse or misinterpret gratitude:
“I can withstand that small indiscretion, I’m just happy to be here”, or
“I’m so grateful to be here, I’ll take on any and everything”.

Confused gratitude leaves the door open for others to encroach on our boundaries. We settle for the status quo. We don’t identify what we want and go after it with purpose.

As a leader, we would encourage you to examine your position on the continuum between gratitude and assertion. We believe that impactful leaders have a balanced view on what they are grateful for, what they deserve and what they want. They are able to acknowledge and appreciate that which they are fortunate to have, but they are also furnished with the self-knowledge and awareness to put forth their contributions assertively. They are clear on their strengths and the value they can add.

Bold, assertive leadership is in high demand. Put your hand up, and make it happen. Others will be grateful you did.

The TOWARD team.



One of the most beautiful sights in the world, at this time of the year, is the flowering cherry tree. Visit Japan in springtime and you will never forget the image of seas of cherry trees flourishing with perfect pink blooms. The delicate pink petals only flourish for a few weeks at the beginning of Spring but their beauty has a lasting impact. Due to the brevity of the bloom the flowering cherry tree is sometimes regarded as a symbol of the transient nature of life. But it’s the moment of flourishing that catches our eyes!

As a leader it’s important to develop your understanding of human flourishing.

  • Are you flourishing?
  • Are your people flourishing?
  • Are you building a flourishing team?

In his book ‘Flourish’, positive psychologist, Martin Seligman, offers a compelling model on how to flourish. He writes about the five elements (PERMA) that will enable you and your people to thrive:

  • Positive Emotions: Creating space for self-reflection, sharing and a sense of belonging in a team results in positive emotions.
  • Engagement: Giving all participants the opportunity to have a genuine say in the direction of the team results in engagement.
  • Relationships: The success of the team will rise and fall on its ability to develop and sustain healthy, supportive and committed relationships.
  • Meaning: Aligning personal purpose, identity and values with those of the team and the organisation results in meaning.
  • Achievement: Identifying individual and collective targets and supporting each other to create success and add value, results in a strong sense of achievement.

If a leader is giving attention to these five elements it is likely that your team will flourish, and not just for a passing season like a cherry blossom.

If you can create a thriving team with more positive emotion, greater engagement, better relationships, and a real sense of meaning and positive accomplishment, your team will flourish through all seasons.