During leadership training we ask participants “Think of a boss you have had that you regarded as a great leader, someone you really loved working for and write down 5 reasons why”. We follow with a group debrief of their answers, cataloging their “why’s”. Below are common statements we hear each and every time without fail:
- They were inspirational.
- They cared about me because when (life event) happened, they were (compassionate supportive reaction).
- They respected me and my talents.
- They invested their time in me by: mentoring, training, growth opportunities, etc.
- They were someone I admired and looked up to for how they led us.
- They had excellent communication skills.
- I felt valued by them.
- They understood people and motivated us forward.
The culmination of the above why’s demonstrate that great leaders who employees remember and yearn for are leaders who are able to make employees FEEL good. Feel valued. Feel respected. Feel understood.
Great leadership is behaving and acting in a way that makes other feel that their worth, dignity and contributions in this world are respected and given the appropriate time and attention. It is about creating a trusting relationship between leader and employee where one’s inherent worth and value is upheld in both action and words. It is about creating safe spaces where individuals can be comfortable enough to stretch, grow, test themselves out, take chances and sometimes fall down without ridicule.
A lot is said about what great leadership is – being strong, clear, a driver, creative thinker, a force to be reckoned with, someone who is tough and gets the job done. Let us never forget however that really great leadership also includes kindness, empathy, compassion, outward focus and a genuine passion for the wellbeing of others and everyones success as a whole. A leader with great Emotional Intelligence and excellent interpersonal skills will always outpace a leader who bosses, demands, tells, ridicules, ignores, lies or dismisses.
Let us strive to be kind to one another, to remain respectful, to be the very best of leaders and to participate in building a workplace, community and country that raises each other up.
Because really…what’s the point otherwise?