Photo Source: Business Insider
You are going to be so glad you are taking the time to read this. None of us want to think we’re leading well and find out, too late, that we missed the mark. To be successful as a process manager, or content expert, or vision caster is something to celebrate, for sure. However, if you don’t genuinely love your people (genuinely. love. your. people), it will mark your leadership and your personnel over time. Mark and mar. Don’t miss that…for your own sake and that of your organization – each employee and all employees.
A friend of mine told me recently that he’s never met the CEO of his company. He is not sure the CEO has ever walked down his department’s hallway. That made me sad, because I know the caliber of work he does and the quality of person he is. He would be such an encouragement to his company’s executive leader. Maybe he was out the day the CEO came down his hall…surely he showed up…once at least. Surely.
My husband speaks several times each year on leading from the heart. I love to hear him speak; it’s a good reminder for me in my own area of influence. Besides my husband, my other go-to person on this subject is Mark C. Crowley, author of Lead from the Heart – Transformational Leadershp for the 21st Century.
In a Forbes piece, Mark was interviewed by Ron Carucci on 4 Radical Leadership Practices that Will Dramatically Increase Engagement. You should read this piece in full. Here are those four practices in brief:
- Invest deeply. Crowley defines deep investment as this: “You are personally spending ample time ensuring people are learning, growing, and thriving. You have a high bar for performance expectations, and you are personally helping people reach it. Every. Single. Day.” [Not just your administrative team, but every single employee in your organization. Too often leaders, busy as they are, leave this to others who may not have their character or their sense of what could be lost/gained.] Photo Credit: Slideshare
- Connect personally. Raising boundaries in relationships at work (keeping a professional distance) doesn’t lead to objectivity; more they lead to ignorance. You think you know how people are, but do you really? Have you talked to personnel? Have you sat down at their work station? Ever? “People we lead have big stories, and we are part of that story.” You aren’t interested in a popularity contest, of course…but are you an empowering force in your employees’ lives…or a devaluing force? Check it out.Photo Credit: Essentials of Business
- Hire for heart. “You have to hire people who are predisposed to care. If you hire for technical competence, or a track record of hitting numbers, that’s all you’ll get” warns Crowley. Maybe your leadership team is already in place and entrenched. Do your managers really care about your personnel? Are they following your lead in their role? This isn’t about occasional free pizza or management tossing kudos from in front of the room. This is about investing in and building up employees…all of them, each one of them… helping them reach their maximum potential. Challenge yourself in this, and your management teams in this, all the way through the ranks.
- Love well. Crowley “emphasizes the criticality of leaders having absolute certainty that the people they lead feel like they, and their work, matter deeply, and they are genuinely appreciated.” Not just the executive team feeling this way but a model is set throughout the organization to “love your people”.
If you read this far, you probably already lead in this way or you want to. I think of myself as being pretty savvy in this area, and that could be my biggest weakness in the workplace. Making such an assumption is dangerous. So…thanks for caring about your own leadership. For those reading thus far, and you don’t see yourself as a mover or shaker in your organization…rethink that. The fact that you are so invested that you’re reading leadership articles may mean you’re more engaged than you might think. You lead out in this area yourself, if you must. For that friend of mine who has never met his CEO…make it happen. You nor he will regret it. Light a fire that could potentially encourage a whole organization. For real.