A few years ago I thought my world was coming to an end, just like before.
My boss pulled me aside. My head started to ache.
He told me that he was not pleased with my current performance. My heart skipped a beat.
Then I got scared. Was I about to lose my job? Was I about to start over – again?
Our team wasn’t making the growth we needed to make. I wasn’t performing the way I should. My team was doing an ok job yet the potential we had was not being realized.
Then he asked me what was going on? Then he asked me what he could do to help?
I told him everything. Everything was made right.
I changed. I was lead. I was showed kindness. I learned how to lead.
This boss is the best leader I have ever worked for, all because he practiced empathy.
Inspired leadership is created when the ego is destroyed.
True leaders give trust before they ask for it. The culture they create is proven by the way they lead.
As a leader, your company culture is determined by the actions you take and the conversations you have. True leaders set proper expectations and show kindness by working to understand the motivations, needs, and desires of those they lead.
The secret sauce to ultimate leadership is courage. It is courage that is shown in kindness. When you lead with kindness you will finally bring out the best in everyone. You will become a true multiplier.
If you think you “have” empathy, you are wrong.
Ok, start the riots: Real, 100% empathy does not exist. You can never know what someone else is going through with exact certainty. You can’t have empathy. Everyone is in a different situation with different experiences, emotions, and needs.
Yet, the practice of empathy, the DESIRE to understand does exist.
You can “practice” empathy.
And that is what makes a great leader seem kinder and full of awareness.
The very best leaders, who practice the most empathy do what others do not.
They just care a bit more…
They take these actions: (This is what the best boss/leader I know does…)
- Have the interest of the people you lead in your mind and heart.
- Ask great questions.
- Persist in supporting their achievement.
- Practice walking in their shoes.
- Your desire to care is the most important differentiator and attractor you have.
- Bring them to the table, let their ideas be heard.
- Interview for growth, with the focus based on potential more than the past.
- Resolve concerns between team members.
- Trust your team to do great work, the work you hired them to do.
- Honor your commitments by honoring their needs.
- Answer all questions with transparent, truthful responses.
- Your ability to provide clarity, support, and vision will inspire your team.
- Join in their happiness by being present day-in and day-out.
- Open the doors so they can grow, remove obstacles, enable performance.
- Surround yourself with people who want to succeed.
- Help everyone you lead to accomplish the right goals.
While this list is not exhaustive, it is a start. You can start practicing empathy today. You can lead with kindness. Keep going. You are strong enough. You are more than enough.
P.S — Here are some great books that will help you become a better leader (or as a GIFT to your own boss!)
Read these #books:
The Book of Mistakes by Skip Prichard
Brave Leadership by Kimberly Davis
The Coaching Effect by Bill Eckstrom & Sarah Wirth
The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
Leadership & Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
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