Loving Leaders

Learning leadership skills today can be the easiest or the hardest thing you do, depending on how deeply you’ve been entrenched in old and wrong-minded “management” lessons. The saying is old, but the idea still eludes most: They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

Kevin Cashman’s article from Forbes, “The Three L’s of Leadership: Love, Listen and Leap” (11/20/12), addresses this issue in the proper order. Much too often leaders try to “leap” before they have a firm footing to leap from. The result is usually a new venture, process, or product that doesn’t have a team behind it, only a manager with employees that he or she is trying to drag along. A real “leap” within an organization requires a group effort, and something has to bind that group together for the leap to be successful.

The first two pieces of Cashman’s equation are essentially two sides of the same coin, and both rely on a real and vested interest in the team you are leading. Loving and listening to people are vital components to any relationship, and you must understand that a working relationship is still a relationship. It requires attention and caring if it is to grow and develop, just as any family relationship or friendship would.

The results of building these relationships are almost always more bountiful than could have been pictured in a strategy meeting. A team that believes their leader truly cares about them will walk through fire for them. The opposite is also true. It may sound too “touchy-feely” for you right now, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that it’s true. The sooner you can get to a place where you not only honestly care about your team, and that they are very aware of that fact, the sooner you and your organization can begin making leaps that will be successful and last.