I recently read an article with the same title by Amy Modglin, Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team. It has been my long-held belief that great leaders behave with the understanding that effectiveness at leading others is optimized through strong relationships and communication. These cannot be achieved if leaders value themselves more than their team members. John Maxwell, in his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” writes, “When we learn to turn our focus from ourselves to others, the whole world opens up to us.” When you understand this and take the focus away from you, it will change who you are as a leader.
Some ways you can work toward valuing your people more:
- View your people as your biggest success. A good leader supports those around them. Your focus should be on developing them, helping them succeed, and watching them grow into the people they want to become. When your people are successful, it is a reflection of you as a leader. Work hard on your people. They are your biggest asset. Without them, your team can fail.
- Acknowledge and appreciate people. Everyone wants to be valued. It is critical as a leader to give your people credit and recognition for the incredible things they do. One of the reasons people leave a job is because they feel underappreciated. A leader should never take the credit for the work that their people do. A good leader is a generous leader who recognizes people. Work recognition into the culture of your team. Make a conscious effort to call out your top producers in a recurring meeting. When others see a coworker being recognized, it infuses motivation into your team. Everyone will work harder to be the next person whose hard work is recognized.
- Know your people.I mean really know them. Sure, you may know their names and their positions and what they are working on, but do you really know them? Do they have children? Do you know where they came from? Do you know what they have done in their lives before they started working with you? Most importantly, do you know their hopes and dreams? Getting to know them in a more personal way will make them feel valued and increase their respect for you as a leader.
- Leave your ego at the door. People are going to do better than you. You will have people on your team who have significant achievements. They may get another degree, get a certification, or move on to a new position. One of the biggest compliments you can receive as a leader is to have one of your people move on to a better opportunity. Be proud, not jealous.
- Empower your people. Everyone wants to be trusted to make decisions. Empower your people to make certain decisions. Do not shortchange them. Allow them opportunities to shine rather than discounting their abilities and doing it yourself. Do you have a big presentation coming up with your executive team? Allow one of your top performers to give the presentation instead. Being empowered will make them confident and help them strive for larger-than-life goals.
A recent survey by Gallup reported that well over half of all workers, regardless of position or level, do not feel valued. When workers don’t feel valued, you don’t receive their best efforts or results. When you can put your people’s needs and interests before your own, you will be a more successful leader.