“I Was Part of the Problem…”

When I was leading a Grateful Leadership course for Volvo Construction Equipment in Pennsylvania last year, one Product Quality Assurance Supervisor named Jose Rosales bravely stepped forth and shared with the class that letting people know that they matter, that they make a difference, that they are valued and appreciated “JUST ISN’T DONE” on the shop floor! Jose expressed how awkward and embarrassing it would be to act this way as a leader. He was sure he would be ridiculed, laughed at or just plain rejected. I responded that I thought he should take the risk anyway. Toward the end of the course he had — and was courageous enough to share — an incredible breakthrough. I will let him tell you about it in his own words.

“When it comes to Grateful Leadership, I thought that it was always difficult to be or show how grateful you are because of what that individual or people in general may think of the act.  I thought that in manufacturing environments in which I’ve worked most of my career with what I would describe as more serious and mature cultures, being a grateful leader could be misconstrued as being soft, insincere, and a waste of time.  To substantiate my excuse, I recalled the time when I patted a gentleman on the back and said thank you and he responded that he didn’t like being touched.  Therefore, instead of that gentleman receiving my gratefulness with a smile, he made me feel quite uncomfortable.

As I reflected during the Grateful Leadership training, I quickly realized that there were many ways to show how grateful you are towards an individual, their efforts, and overall contributions.  Most importantly, I learned that by letting the one negative experience hinder my ability to be a Grateful Leader meant that I was part of the problem, as it is up to leaders to change the culture and perspective in an organization.  In order to make the transition from Grateful Leadership having that potentially soft and insincere image, to one that’s welcomed and promoted as both a “feel good” and motivating contribution, leaders have to be committed to being the difference makers.

Since my Grateful Leadership training, I have become much more open as a grateful leader in both my professional and personal life.  I look forward to celebrating my employees’ successes on a regular basis and I make sure that I do it in front of our whole team, not just to recognize their efforts, but to aide in fostering a positive culture change moving forward.”

— Jose Rosales, Product Quality Assurance Supervisor, Volvo 

PHOTO: Ken Sanders, awarded for his FTT Inspection efforts and positive feedback provided by the Large Compaction Line. Proudly presented by Jose Rosales.