Leadership is getting a lot of attention these days, and there’s a lot of conversation about it, especially in our government and schools.
Several excellent tools, publications, and helpful advice are available to help you become a better leader. But leadership is defined by who you are rather than what you accomplish.
Make no mistake; deeds matter and often speak louder than words.
However, when we say that leadership is more about who you are, we’re referring to your heart and attitude toward others. That is to say, our words and deeds always flow from and are in line with our hearts. Especially for friends at work.
When you examine and analyze the most influential leaders in history, you will see that their love of people identifies them as great leaders. This is the most important “L” in leadership. It shows in their words, attitudes, relationships, and deeds.
We’re not talking about the marketed love of Valentine’s Day or the sensual love of Hollywood. Nor the romance fiction love that covers millions of bookstore shelves and internet resources.
The sort of love we’re referring to is the kind that permeates a person’s spirit. That is to say, when they see that their leader cares about them and their well-being. You can’t successfully lead or make a meaningful difference unless you love and care for the people around you.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, both John Maxwell and Theodore Roosevelt said. You cultivate this caring via love. It involves effort and investment, as well as time and purpose. It all comes down to the influence you make as a leader and the legacy you leave behind.
Focusing on the word “love” itself is one technique to achieve this degree of love:
- Pay attention.
- Keep an eye on things.
- Appraise and validate.
- Encourage and empower.
The most excellent approach to show your employees that they are essential to you and that you appreciate their experiences, thoughts, and viewpoints is to listen to them.
Due to the many distractions we confront every day, both internally and externally, listening has become one of the most challenging tasks in our life.
Furthermore, we often mix up hearing with listening. Listening is a function of the heart, while hearing is a function of our physical ears.
A good attitude and a desire to know and care for your people will enable you to deliberately eliminate distractions. You can concentrate on listening to your people rather than merely hearing what they say.
There is a moment for leaders to talk, cast vision, empower, and inspire…but there is also a time for them to pause, ask excellent questions, and listen.
Observing is similar to hearing, but it extends beyond the words we hear.
Observing is, in other words, active listening. Great leaders monitor their people by paying careful attention. First to their gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Followed closely by verbal inflection, conduct, and interactions with others around them.
Many people mistake seeing with watching, just as they hear and listen. Seeing is a physical function of our eyes, but watching is a mental activity.
When you love someone, you learn to listen actively. You watch them understand and appreciate them for who they are. A person does not want to judge, condemn, or control them. Listening and watching are about learning about and getting to know people, not always about agreeing with what they say.
Validate and Appreciate
It’s a lot simpler to validate and appreciate your folks if you comprehend and know them. “I see you, I hear you, and you matter,” you essentially say.
Validating a human being requires humility, maturity, and care. Moreover, to respect their feelings, ideas, experiences, values, and beliefs without criticizing or proving them incorrect.
Great leaders don’t dismiss people’s emotions, experiences, or ideas, and they don’t ignore the person behind it all. Great leaders appreciate their employees, no matter how different they are.
Valuing a person, like validating them, does not imply that you agree with them. Neither does it mean you agree with their experiences, but it does suggest that you be respectful of them even when you disagree.
Encourage and Empower
Listening, watching, validating, and valuing effectively lays the groundwork for a solid connection. The great built on care and love between leaders and their employees.
This is when you gain the right to speak into your people’s lives, to provide them with the tools they need to fulfill their full potential, and to urge them to keep evolving to become the most excellent version of themselves. Leadership means love.
This is when your employees are eager to listen, take on a challenge, and go above and beyond because they believe you care about them and their well-being.
It’s crucial to remember that we can’t offer what we don’t have as you develop and learn to love your people.
As stated earlier, it all begins with learning to love yourself.
Listen to and examine your own words and ideas, acknowledge your own emotions, and appreciate your own experiences and lessons acquired. Work with a trustworthy friend, mentor, or coach who can help you become your most fabulous self by empowering and encouraging you.
To better love others, you must first love yourself.