By: Dustin Nance
If you have read a leadership book in the last 20 years then you have read something about how you must care about those you lead for them to want to follow you. This is not a new concept. Brice Maddock says, “The only two things that matter when we stand before God is our relationship with Him and our relationships with others.” Basically, did we love God and love people enough to lead them to Him. Those are the two greatest commandments according to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40.
We know this! We know because most likely we have experienced both leaders that show they care and leaders that don’t. Why aren’t we better at this as leaders? I would argue that for some it’s a shift from the mindset of thinking about “what is best for me?” to “what is best for the team?” or “what is best for John Doe in this situation?”. However, I believe for most of us we just get too BUSY!!!! The truth is we let ourselves get so busy and stressed out with tasks, that we miss the most important opportunities to show those around us we care every day. In a world that is focused on “what is best for me?”, we as Christian leaders must put others before ourselves. We must show people that we care more about them than what they can do.
I think of my daughter Ellie; she is a tough girl. She has had to grow up around my son, Asher, but the other day they were dancing around the living room and Asher accidentally ran her over. She jumped up, ran into my arms and started crying. I know she’s not dying, her arms are not broken and really she’s not physically hurting that much at all. She just wants to know that Daddy cares that she got ran over. I found myself with a choice to make, tell her she’s fine and send her on her way, or wrap my arms around her, tell her I’m sorry she got hurt and that I love her. I chose to take the time and show her I care.
Unfortunately, I don’t always make the right choice in this situation. When staff comes to me saying a situation is hard, I feel a responsibility to tell them to grow up and get it done, change the situation or make it easier for them. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes all I need to do is acknowledge that it is hard, let them know I think they can do it and encourage them to keep pushing. Basically, I need to show them I care about them, not just that they get the task done.
Don’t get me wrong; I stand with Jon Gordon on this, “I believe in tough love, but love must come first. If your team knows that you care about them, they will allow you to push and challenge them to be their best.” You may have the authority to give tough love, but if you haven’t spent the time showing someone you care, they will not see it as love at all.
This is an important point for us to understand as leaders! It’s always a faster turnaround time with my daughter Ellie when I show her I care. Usually, she jumps right back up and goes at it again, but If I don’t, she walks around crying looking for someone else to show her they care. Not only does it take longer, but she will stop coming to me if I do that too many times. I want Ellie to come to me for the rest of her life, just as I want my staff too. It’s not coddling them to encourage someone and acknowledge a situation is hard and that you’re behind them and believe they can do it.
Take the time today to show your team you care!
Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith