I write about different leadership topics regularly.  Successful leadership practices, being an introvert as a leader, leading your teams, women leaders and so on.  I was stopped dead in my tracks when I read the recent post by Jeff Haden on LinkedIn.  He tells us a story of his presenting to a whole boat-load of leadership types – CEO’s, top executives and such.  All who are bored by this topic – to tears.  Yet when Jeff posed this question to the audience of 100:

“In one sentence, what is the key to leading people?”

He got an answer that was totally unexpected and yet, so dead on.

“I think I know,” a man said.  He went on, fairly quietly, “No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them. We think we have all the answers, and maybe we do, but that doesn’t matter. No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them,” he repeated.

 Since no one in the audience made a sound, he continued.

 “No, really,” he said, sounding more confident. “Yeah, we’re in charge, we talk about targets and goals and visions… but our employees don’t care about that stuff for long. We can try to communicate and engage and connect all we want but no one really listens. They just smile and nod and go back to doing their jobs the way they always do.”

What is the One Answer?

And this is big, really big.

“Our employees don’t really care about what we want them to do until they know how much we care about them. When employees know — truly know — that you care about them, then they will care about you. And when they know you care, then they will listen to you… and then they will do anything for you.”

So, What’s Your Answer?

Sure, you can continue to push your vision, targets, and goals – but when are you going to throw in empathy, compassion, and a level of caring that really matters?  In other words, leading with your heart.  Yeah, I said it, your heart.  I don’t know about any of you, but this is big stuff.  And, it does matter, just go out and ask your employees.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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