In my first post on this topic I discussed a dangerous trap that many business owners fall into of “ungratefulness.” As the business owner, you were likely the holder of the big idea, capital, cutting edge strategy, or great leadership skills, however; no matter the great skill you may possess, your empire was most likely built by a team of people who bought into your mission. 

Where business owners generally find themselves in trouble, is when they begin to think that they’ve gotten where they are by themselves and fail to express gratitude to the people upon whose shoulders they are standing.  In this post I will address the other side of the coin,  the recipients of a generous and humble business owner who recognize their people are their biggest asset.

Just at business owner’s struggle with gratitude, so do their key managers, family member employees, and staff. I am absolutely amazed at how frequently I have to coach the recipients of major gifts into expressing gratitude. I had to do it the other day with a key manager we just completed a deferred compensation plan, and have had to do it many times with the children of business owners who’ve just been “gifted” hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in the family business.

It reminds me of a story about Jesus that’s recorded in the New Testament. The story is of 10 lepers who, because of the nature of their disease, were outcasts of society. The rule was that if they were healed they had to go present themselves to the priests in order to be approved to re-integrate into society. Jesus told them all to go present themselves to the priests and they were all healed on the way.   Now, I’m quite certain that these guys were grateful that they had been healed. In fact, they were probably tickled pink with joy and excitement.  But as the story unfolds, only one of them came back to Jesus and said “thanks.”  Jesus’ response is informative – “Where are the other 9?”

Here’s the point – “Unexpressed gratitude communicates ingratitude.”  You see, you might very well feel grateful, but unless you express it, the non-expression actually communicates that you are not grateful.  Any attitude of ungratefulness communicated, whether it’s reality or not, can, and often does, lie at the heart of relationship struggles in families.

If you have been the recipient of your boss’ or parents’ generosity and have not expressed thanks, go do it.

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