One of the marks of a strong leader in our culture is taking charge and getting things done. Unfortunately, this often happens at the expense of others. People are often not involved, engaged or respected. They may not know their roles, and they may not receive adequate and relevant feedback. They also may not feel comfortable providing candid feedback to their boss. This often results in many employees quitting but remaining on the payroll. This way of leading and relating to people in many businesses and organizations across our country is inherently flawed, and it leads to higher expenses and subpar results.
Leadership and the importance of people to the success of any organization is something on which I’ve reflected during some of my COVID-19 downtime. How effective or ineffective am I or have I been as a leader? Am I as focused on people as I am on results? These can be very difficult questions to ponder, but they are certainly worth considering. We all know that you cannot achieve great results without committed, engaged and talented people.
Humble, transparent and self-assured leaders are willing to give up power and lead in a servant-leader oriented way. Leaders like this know they have power, which is inherent in their roles, but they don’t necessarily have to use it. When they use it, they get the respect that they deserve, because they have laid the proper foundation by building relationships that are meaningful. People work with and for this type of leader because they want to, not because they have to.
Leadership is more than a title or salary. It really doesn’t matter a person’s socio-economic status. It also doesn’t matter the person’s race, gender, ethnicity, etc. We should treat each other with mutual admiration, honor and genuine respect. It would make a tremendous difference in the lives of people and positively impact the individuals and organizations in which they work.
If you’re not a people-centered leader, now is a great time to reflect and determine what needs to change in order for you to become one. Begin by considering the following:
- Become aware of your current leadership style and how you’re being perceived.
- Request feedback from someone who you know and trust.
- Move consciously through the acceptance stage, which is often one of the most difficult after having received candid feedback.
- Set a few short and long-term goals related to improving as a leader.
- Take meaningful action steps towards becoming the leader that you are capable of being. As you’re doing this, don’t forget the importance of measuring your progress and inviting accountability along the way.
Reflecting and subsequently taking the appropriate steps to improve as a leader could significantly and positively impact your organization and the lives of those you love, lead and serve.
If we use this time well, as we reappear out of this life altering experience called COVID-19, we have an unparalleled opportunity to be better leaders. The people we have the privilege of leading deserve to be led by people who lead in a servant-leader oriented way.