If you do not love those you lead then you are not yet a true leader. Because a true leader must love those they lead. It’s the core of leadership.
The problem with leadership paradigms is a core wrong perception of what a leader actually is. The biggest wrong paradigm is that leadership is for you. It is not. It is for those whom you may be privileged to lead. If you are called to leadership it is a privilege, not a right. It is not so that you can be recognized, have power and influence, and certainly not to make money.
“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” Chris Hadfield
I learned a long time ago… you can’t push people and succeed over the long haul, but you can lead them. People don’t want to be pushed, they want someone to lead them… to show them how it’s done. To be the one with vision… “bigger than life.” You really aren’t but you appear that way not just because you can make decisions, or be successful… these things are expected of leaders. If you love them in a tangible way, you will have a depth of influence that no other attribute will provide.
Recently a few people have told me the thing that impacts them the most in my interactions with them, is that they know how much I truly love them. I create, by default at this point, a place in me for them of love and safety. They trust me, because they know I love them. ( It’s really God’s love in me but it shines through me to them).
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
This is imperative. You may be able to drive people to succeed short term, but long term success requires more than skills and savvy. It requires love. Let’s take this lesson from the Bible in John 10. “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.“
The true leader actually takes true ownership. He is not a “hired hand”. The ownership of the position is what makes all the difference. For 27 years in my positions at New York City Relief I learned this first, then adopted it, then lived it, and then taught and tried to infuse this value into all the staff, interns and volunteers I could. I knew if I did that it was a seed that could grow in them and help them to lead with authenticity no matter where they went in life.
“Any jerk can have short-term earnings. You squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and the company sinks five years later.” Jack Welch