This past Monday as I was traveling, I was listening to the April 2011 Success magazine CD and was impressed by the John Maxwell interview. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Maxwell, he is currently one of the leading authorities on leadership (if not the authority). As he spoke, John mentioned 3 important questions followers internally ask of their leader.
1. Do you care about me?
2. Can you help me?
3. Can I trust you?
As I thought about my personal experiences as a leader, I paused to reflect on my past successes and failures. Here’s a short list of my thoughts on things we need to be and do:
1. Do I know and care about my people as individuals? Do I know their families? Do I know their interests outside of our organization? Do I know where they like to spend their personal time? Do I ask them how they are doing and really mean it? Do I know when they are joyous and when they are depressed? Do I take the time to understand why?
2. Do I give them my full attention when they speak? Am I more concerned about my needs and my responses then what they need to succeed? Do I listen with the intent to hear? Am I providing the input, opportunities, and education that would allow them to grow? Do I encourage them to grow? Do I provide the time they need with me to understand my strengths and experience? Do I help them become better people and better team members?
3. Can they trust me to keep confidences? Will I allow them the opportunity to give criticism or suggestions without recourse? Can I be the kind of leader they would want to emulate?
In a fast paced world with more and more emphasis on technology, the grandest gesture is still to know our people, care about them, and respond to their personal needs. If we want long term engaged followers, we need to be well informed, caring, and exemplary examples of leadership.
Be the exemplary leader. It’s a worthy goal!