Heart of a Leader

Why should anyone follow you? Anywhere?

Seriously, that is the question that leaders must ask themselves. John Maxwell wrote, “If you think you are leading, and no one’s following, then you’re just taking a walk.”

A cynic might ask, “who do you think you are to believe that YOU are worthy to be followed?” And if you’re not careful, you might believe that only those who have been anointed with special degrees and certifications are “worthy” to lead.

You might think that you’re too young to lead. You might accept that you’re too inexperienced to lead. You might even think that you’re not competent enough to lead.

All of those things can be true about you, yet none have to do with your effectiveness as a leader.

Leadership is about your heart. In what way? I’m so glad you asked.

Do you care about those you lead?
If not, you shouldn’t lead them.

Do you see potential in those you lead?
If not, you shouldn’t lead them.

Do you believe that those on your team are capable of being excellent?
If not, you shouldn’t lead them.

Despite what you say in your meetings, your team KNOWS how you really feel…about them. They can feel your heart. They can sense it.

Years ago, I visited a beautiful Caribbean resort that had lofty aspirations. Specifically, it wanted to earn the coveted AAA 5-Diamond Award. In my role as a consultant, I was invited to attend an all-staff (townhall) meeting. At the meeting, the general manager (GM), and other senior leaders, passionately laid out the hotel’s goal. “We will be 5 Diamond!”

At the end of the meeting, they even had all the staff sign a large banner with the words, “We will be 5 Diamond” on it. It was inspiring to say the least.

Shortly after the meeting, I was in the HR Director’s office, along with the GM. The HR Director said, “We just can’t find good people on this island.” Then, turning to the GM, he said, “Honestly, there’s no world-class staff here on this island. I cringe when I see the types of people who show up to complete an application to work here.”

I felt every word. He meant every word. And the GM nodded in agreement.

Do you think the hotel ever got the award? Nope.

Regardless of what you say, or how glitzy you say it, people will only hear what is in your heart. They will only hear what you truly believe.

Those thoughts you have when you’re by yourself? That’s what they’ll believe. Those words you say to your leadership colleagues when no one else is looking? That’s what they’ll believe. Those words you say during pillow talk with your significant other? That’s what they’ll believe.

Takeaway: No matter what you say, your heart is what will be believed.

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