Great leaders are simultaneously visionary, relentless and empathic. They possess both vision and understanding; a view of the long-term needs and goals of their organization, unwaveringly committed to achieving their goals and realistic about the fact that not everyone will comprehend or invest in these things as fully as they do.
“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll
Most of us focus on our own short-term needs and goals rather than those of the organization. Feeling frustrated over this reality is a waste of energy and takes you farther away from your personal goals and those you have for your organization.
- Empathy – Extraordinary leaders stay connected to the mental and emotional states of those they lead. They praise in public and address problems in private, and have a genuine concern for the needs and wants of others. Rather than making things personal or shutting down their core values and objectifying others, or rationalizing their behavior when they encounter problems, or assigning blame to individuals, strong leaders stay connected to those they lead and look for constructive solutions and focus on moving forward.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Being empathetic is only one leadership strategy that fosters engagement and commitment from employees. Mentoring helps others grow and be more effective in their role and in life. When you engage in mentoring, it means you care for employees as individuals as much as you do the results of the organization.
- Mentor – Your top employees will benefit (and be further engaged in your organization and in their work) when they have a mentor, either you or someone else in the organization. A mentor provides advice, feedback, a sounding board, career guidance, and facilitates connections to others in their network. Mentoring is not everyone’s strength; when selecting and training mentors, look for experienced and mature employees who are good listeners and have a knack for connecting with younger, less experienced people.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi
Learn to align your behavior with human nature. To be an attractive and inspiring leader who stays connecting with his or her core values, develop the tools of empathy and mentorship. When you do these things you might find you reach a new level of satisfaction and meaning in your job, not to mention performance of the organization will increase.
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey
I’d love to hear some stories about how you have moved from being numbers focused to employee focused – I know I have my share of stories that track my own evolution in this regard.