In a world where history happens before our eyes, and cataclysmic change has become the norm, most people are eager for wise, strong, and compassionate leadership—in our work, our organizations, and our governments.
Atlanta-based consultant, Dr. Timothy Irwin points out that most leaders have a need for affiliation. In other words, they require association with others and, to a certain extent, the approval of those whom they influence. Just as leaders want affirmation from their followers, those who follow need to know that they matter to their leaders. James Autry, consultant and former President of the Meredith Corporation, says that if you don’t care about people, don’t get into leadership (Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership).
Effective leaders give credit to others and look for ways to recognize good performance. Someone who gives only negative feedback may create an environment of pessimism and low morale.
Further, leaders need to know their employees as people—whom they are, their goals their victories, and their struggles. Although leaders should not be inordinately involved in employees’ personal lives, knowing something about what is going on in people’s situations can create the opportunity for showing sincere empathy and concern when appropriate. Leaders can also use this information to understand fluctuations in performance and react accordingly.
When leaders genuinely care about the people they lead, they create a culture of consideration that encourages employees to operate in an atmosphere of respect and reciprocal good will.