Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of gratitude. The ability to experience and to express gratitude is essential to our health and happiness. It is also a fundamental part of our professional lives. Increasingly, gratitude is seen as a key attribute of world-class executives and leaders.

Superlative leaders deeply and genuinely appreciate the value of gratitude and thankfulness. They understand that gratitude is the bedrock of compassionate, empathetic and effective leadership. Gratitude actually generates energy. It’s an attractive force that wise leaders use to reshape the world and create a better future.

As my good friend Stephen M.R. Covey has observed, the era of `command and control’ leadership is gone. Modern leadership is all about empathy, compassion and influence. It’s about creating trustful relationships and inspiring employees to achieve greatness. The best leaders I’ve worked with invariably follow the servant-leadership model. They proactively provide guidance and support to ensure the success and professional growth of the people around them. They truly understand what motivates people to perform at the highest levels and they provide the resources to empower continual success, even in difficult times.

As most of you know, I am passionate about leadership excellence. At the beginning of my career, leaders were judged by their productivity and by their ability to generate profits. Those capabilities are still highly valued. But the world has become more complicated. In today’s interconnected global economy, it takes more than hitting your numbers to achieve greatness as a leader.

Great leaders don’t simply tell people what to do. The best leaders inspire people to innovate, to invent, to reimagine and to grow. Successful leaders create strong and authentic emotional bonds with their peers and colleagues.

They align themselves with the CEO’s vision and they fully understand the competitive landscape. They are also extraordinary communicators. They have the skills, the knowledge and the confidence to explain the vision and align operations to achieve the CEO’s strategic goals.

In addition to being great communicators, world-class leaders are also exceptional listeners. They engage honestly and they aren’t afraid to show empathy or vulnerability. They demonstrate courage and they know when to take risks.

When great leaders succeed, they share their success with others. They are grateful for the work and effort of their team. They never forget to say, “Thank you.”

That’s the lesson of Thanksgiving. The simple act of saying “thank you” goes a long way. “Thank you” is a uniquely powerful statement. It builds the strong relationships and enduring loyalties that are essential to success in all aspects of our lives.

Thank you for being part of the HMG Strategy global community. I am truly grateful for your support, your engagement and your friendship. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday!