by Neil Farrell, Zack Freesman, Andrew Hogue, & Jalen Manning
Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Given the time of year, it is important to remember how important it is for leaders to be grateful.
Showing gratitude has the potential to increase morale which in turn can increase work ethic and productivity. Conversely, as students in the Center for Sport Leadership, the burden is on us to show gratitude towards everyone who helps us in our careers. It is crucial to remember how we are being helped now so that we may pay those favors forward to future sport leaders.
Being a graduate assistant in the VCU Athletics Communications office, Andy Hogue sees the benefit of showing gratitude on a daily basis.
“It’s an affirmation that you’re on the right path,” Hogue said. When you’re working hard on something for a while, then someone thanks you for your work, it sort of validates all the time you put in.”
Gratitude is a two-way street. While leaders should recognize the hard work of those following them, the follower must too realize and be grateful for the things leaders do every day to keep things running. Zach Freesman, a graduate assistant for VCU men’s basketball, talks about how grateful he is for the opportunities he has received here.
“I’m so grateful to Coach Wade and his staff for giving me an opportunity to pursue my dream of coaching college basketball. Some of my responsibilities include on-court development, film breakdown, and assisting with scouting reports. I show my gratitude by working as hard as I can to help get the Rams to be the best possible team that we can be.”
Neil Farrell, also a VCU men’s basketball graduate assistant, echoed Freesman’s thoughts.
“I have an extreme level of gratitude for both the VCU Men’s Basketball team and the Center for Sport Leadership for giving me an opportunity to further my career in athletics. I have made so many long-lasting relationships which I am extremely grateful for and have gained amazing experience along the way.”
Jalen Manning, a VCU Athletic Compliance graduate assistant, opened up about how having gratitude impacts his life as a CSL student.
“I’m extremely grateful to the Athletic Compliance Department at VCU for allowing me to serve as their graduate assistant for the year. This position has helped further my knowledge on how the NCAA operates and helped me see firsthand how the compliance team collaborates with the other athletic and academic departments at VCU.”
Being grateful is more than an internal feeling. It is something that we as leaders should show to those who help us and have our backs. In this effort, we will find that we take less for granted and appreciate others for their work.