By Duncan Barkebo
April 24, 2021
The first question is about relationships. Humans are social animals, they would want to feel safe. This can only be accomplished in an environment of trust. Whenever there is mutual trust between the leader and the led, there will be productivity and growth. When this is broken, people will be with each other physically but mentally averse to each other. Trust is therefore the foundation of humanity. People come to the workplace with expectations that they can trust their boss and colleagues. Just like the way a family will stay in the same house, a couple sleeping in the same bed can only sleep soundly when they know that in case of any danger, the other will alert them or defend them. Most people in the workplace do not feel safe. It is a leader’s responsibility to ensure that the environment is safe and that the people can bank their trust on their leader, that in the event of something adverse, the leader will alert them or stand by them. This is the basis of great leadership.
The second question is about the leader’s ability to help others. I have discovered from my short experience and learning, that the great leaders figure it out first and demonstrate genuine interest in others. See, if you are leading me, I have in some way released my power to succeed to you. Everyone comes to a leadership situation with life intentions formed by historical experiences or simply a desire to achieve. When the leader demonstrates the interest to help him or her achieve such desires, the process becomes successful and the leader moves from just being a good leader to a great leader. You see, one can create a trusting environment but if the leader does not help the led, then it cancels any inner motivation to accept the leadership situation. That is why in my mentorship of leaders, I usually inform them that ‘Be very worried when you find that less and less of your people are coming to you for help”. Not only is it about the technical issues of the job, but as a leader, be proud to help others even in their lives. Remember human beings don’t come in compartments, the human is a being and they come to you packaged as a whole. The physical, mental, spiritual and emotional person.
The third question touching on the leader’s ability to care for the person. Author and Leadership guru John Maxwell always reminds us, people will not care how much we know or do, until they know how much we care. Great leaders extend this skill in every sphere of their follower’s lives. You can never lead someone unless you really care for the person. Unless you care for their success, unless you care for their personal growth, and other elements that impact on their lives, one can never say they are great leaders. Every great leader must therefore of necessity ask themselves, “Am I really interested in this person?” Actually it has been known that leaders have two main reasons in caring for a person. The good reason and the real reason. The first one is mainly related to what is popularly known as PR.(Public relations exercise) This is where we go about acting in the publicly accepted way of treating others so that no one will say that we don’t care. However, in most cases a small issue may quickly expose the second reason. The real reason. Great leaders aspire to demonstrate the real reason why they care for someone. It is difficult because it can never be said nor seen, it is something that is felt. And as they say, good things are seldom touched by our hands, but really felt in the heart. Do you really care for others?