A grand mistake often made in business is separating leadership from love. Ah yes, the great divide of emotion from the workplace. Here’s the real deal: True leadership starts from a loving place with roots grounded in lifting others up when they fall and showing them the way to greater journeys ahead. Without possessing a genuine love and desire to help others succeed, there is no true leadership. Instead there is aimless guidance disguised as leadership in hopes to gain blind followers; sometimes referred to as “management”.
Leadership is a four-step process. It starts with a genuine love; secondly a desire to help others grow; third, great sacrifice and lastly establishing and maintaining an influential relationship with others.
So how can one achieve this ultimate leadership experience? It starts with who you are and what you desire to accomplish. Leading without love is selfish and having a self-fulfilling goal is the opposite of a good leader.
Often employees are held to unreasonable expectations to perform without having the proper resources available to do so. Although we may not call it “love” in the workplace, good leaders’ actions mirror what’s in their heart. Love is shown through what you offer an employee. Being considerate of child-care needs; health benefits, making healthy foods available, encouraging exercising or offering flexible work arrangements; these are gestures of love in leadership. Giving employees the resources and tools to be the best performers are how we show our employees we genuinely care about their success.
Desire to Help Others Grow
Intentions often get lost during delivery. While it may appear people want the best for others and have a desire to see them grow; often they end up indirectly (or directly) preventing them from doing so. Managers require timely production and adherence to deadlines – leaders focus on the developmental steps necessary to reach the goal. Cracking the whip is not an example of good leadership. Yes, accountability is a necessary role in progression, but it should not mean damaging the spirit of others in the process. Good leaders encourage employee input, making them feel valued and appreciated. This acceptance helps employees to become more engaged, therefore more productive and knowledgeable.
When you truly love what you do and you are doing it for the right reasons, you are clear about what you need to do and you are well prepared to sacrifice. As a leader you may sacrifice, at any given moment: your ego, your time, your frustration, and much more. All of these things are supressed once you are in love with the greater good. When you are focused on helping people and processes to become better, you don’t get caught up in the battle of losing to your selfish desires. You sacrifice your needs for the needs of others. That is true leadership.
Establishing an Influential Connection
When you’ve developed trust with your employees, they begin to value your relationship and trust your judgment. They become loyal and committed to the vision of the organization. This connection creates an influential bond, making it easier to implement change and take on new opportunities. Be transparent, yet kind in your approach when speaking with employees. Pour back into them in areas where they need improvement. Be a support, an encouragement and a reality-check when needed. Not only must we create a welcoming environment, we must display empathy and give undivided attention to those who need it most. Good leaders strive to lift others up, not tear them down. Having influential relationships with employees allows leaders to focus on the future without facing resistance from employees.
Not everyone having a leadership position, is meant to lead. Leadership is much more than skill and knowledge. It requires integrity, honesty, willingness to do good unto others and having an expectation of others to do the same.
*This post was udpated and originally created May 2014