At the heart of gratitude lies genuine and authentic appreciation. We live in an entitled society. As a result, there is a pervasive mindset of believing and expecting that when we receive good (words, actions, gifts), we deserve it – it’s our right just because we exist – and we owe nothing in return.

quintessential leaders show and express genuine and authentic appreciationWe, as a society, don’t know how to be thankful and how to express and show genuine and authentic appreciation to and for everyone and everything that intersects with our lives.

Instead, we have devolved into a culture of mutual admiration societies, where we acknowledge only, in an insincere and superficial manner, the people and the things that make us feel good, smart, funny, important, and interesting.

This is not genuine and authentic appreciation.

Instead, it is a revolving door of platitudes dependent on each participant continuing to walk in the endless and small circle of flattery and fawning that strokes our egos and our pride.

It is empty. It is meaningless. And when someone in the circle gets bored because they need a new retinue of genuflectors, they will leave and it will end.

This is also a characteristic of unquintessential leadership, which is entrenched in our society as well.

When is the last time someone in a leadership position said “thank you” to you for something or anything just because?

Does the only meaningless gesture of appreciation you get from an unquintessential leader happen when they need or want something from you or you can be useful to them? What happens when they don’t need or want something or you’re not useful in the moment?

Are you appreciated?

The answer is “no.” If you can’t do something for them or be something to them, you are invisible, useless, and worthless. Tough words. Real words. True words.

So how do quintessential leaders differ? How will you know?

quintessential leaders are genuineFirst and foremost, quintessential leaders are genuine and authentic as people: who, what, and how they are. They are also humble and grateful for the gifts they’ve been given. They know they aren’t entitled to them. They know they don’t deserve them. And they know they are not owed anything.

Because of their character, their understanding of themselves in the big picture, and their ability to recognize that everything and everyone in their lives is ultimately a blessing – whether to teach a lesson, to advise for or against a path of life, to sharpen discernment, or to develop and grow the characteristics and character traits that build trust and make them trustworthy – quintessential leaders are continually expressing and showing genuine and authentic appreciation to everyone and for everything in their lives.

One difference that highlights their genuineness and the authenticity is that, most of the time, quintessential leaders show and express their appreciation in the background in an one-on-one interaction.

quintessential leaders are authenticThe other difference is that quintessential leaders show and express their genuine and authentic appreciation across the board for all the people and things in their lives. 

And much of that appreciation, especially when there are difficult people and difficult things in a quintessential leader’s life that are put there as opportunities to choose the right way, to teach eternal lessons, to make the heart, soul, and mind more merciful because of the mercy received, ends up being for God’s ears only.

What does genuine and authentic appreciation look like?

It means being respectful and kind when you are treated rudely and contemptuously. It means not answering when you are threatened or challenged or deliberately goaded. It means being silent when you are having insults, condemnations, unfounded accusations, and unrepeatable names and labels showered on you.

It means being polite and expressing thanks to someone who you know, at the very least, doesn’t like you, and, at the very most, hates you. It means being gracious to everyone regardless of how they treat you. It means consciously, and sometimes with great effort, silencing the fickleness of emotions and answering instead the consistency of a highly-developed and sensitive conscience.

It means consistently choosing to do the right thing and the moral thing, even in those moments where the temptation is strongest and most urgent for anger, revenge, and ingratitude.

In other words, in the end, expressing and showing genuine and authentic appreciation is a product of striving to master self-control.

As always, I’ve expressed the ideal here. Even those of us who are consciously striving to be quintessential leaders fail to meet the ideal all the time.

But what distinguishes quintessential leaders from everyone else is that the ideal is always at the front of our lives and it is what we live by, strive for, and attain to.

How are we doing?


  1. […] close friend and fellow blogger, remarking on “The Quintessential Leader Perspective: Expressing and Showing Genuine and Authentic Appreciation,” said “A tall order! It’s difficult to be thankful towards those who are […]


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