Treating Others Well is the Sign of a Powerful Leader
Updated: Jul 14, 2021
“The people with the greatest love, not the most information, will influence us to change.” Bob Goff
Bob Goff is the New York Times best-selling author of the book Love Does. His quote reminds us that it isn’t what you know that matters as much as how you behave. You may have all the knowledge in the world on important subjects which make you an expert, but if you don’t have the social skills to lead others with love, you won’t be very effective.
Goff shared a story in a blog post about when the scientist, Galileo used a telescope to determine that the Earth and the other planets rotated around the sun. At the time, this went against the standard beliefs in science and caused Galileo to be arrested and jailed. What Galileo discovered was the truth, but his truth threatened those in leadership, and instead of listening, they reacted defensively.
As leaders, it’s important to realize that information changes and what we think we know might be proven ineffective or even wrong at some point. As a leader, how you treat others in these and other circumstances is more important than what you know.
Here are some key concepts to keep in mind:
Being challenged doesn’t require defensiveness. Some leaders think others shouldn't challenge their authority. Although a leadership role does bring an expectation of control, respect is far more dynamic when earned. If your authority is being challenged, take a moment to reflect on the validity of the challenge. If it is indeed accurate, embrace the challenge and work together to seek a solution or accept the new information with gratitude.
Seek to inspire not command. Leadership should inspire others to take action. How you treat others determines how willing they are to serve the cause you represent. Great leaders influence people to exceed what they would do on their own. By doing the work alongside others and being the hardest-working member of the group, leaders model the way and naturally motivate others to give their best. The inspiration comes out of authentic attitudes and behaviors.
Surround yourself with people smarter than you are. Great leaders know that life is constantly evolving and requires life-long learning. No one person can know everything in all areas. Strong leaders surround themselves with people more intelligent than they are in certain areas and empower them and support them to shine. They aren’t threatened by someone else’s knowledge or the fact that they don’t know everything.
True leadership requires the humility of being less knowledgeable and making no apologies.
How knowledgeable you are as a leader isn't as important as who you are and how well you manage. Being a great leader includes understanding your business and executing technical expertise. But more importantly, it entails having the kindness to treat those under your care with dignity and respect.
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