Why You Care Matters
Some leaders don’t care for people at all. Some may care so people will help them. A few care because they actually care.
Which category do you fit into? Let me explain the differences…
Some Leaders Don’t Care
I have always been a kind person, I think. I have lived by Christian principles and honored people. But my understanding of leadership early in my journey was: I am here to make sure the job is done. While I valued people, to me they were there for a job. Period. And I was there for a job: to make sure they did theirs. While I treated them with respect, I don’t think I cared about them as individuals.
I have known leaders who outright mistreated people. Some are so obsessed with selfish ambition, that they are motivated by nothing more than fulfilling their own self-interests. They esteem themselves so highly, they neglect to cultivate value and compassion for others.
Other Leaders Care, So People Will Help Them
As I progressed in my own leadership journey, as I read and was mentored, I realized that according to my personal values I was not doing the right thing when it came to leadership. It was actually in my nature to care for people. So I began to apply that in my leadership. I started seeing people as people, not employees—not mere bodies or workers there to complete a task. While we were all there to do a job with excellence, we are also people with dreams and hopes, and with fears and insecurities.
So I cared, but then I discovered that I was caring for a selfish reason. I cared for them often times because I knew that it would get me further along with them in my leadership. Many “nice” leaders operate from here. They care for you in a great way, but only so you will help them. While this is much better than those who simply do not care at all, as a follower I have always found it lacking when a leader only exercises care for selfish reasons.
Genuine Leaders Care Simply Because They Care
Humans are perceptive about the motives and authenticity of a person. As I started learning more about leadership, I discovered that I was still missing a key component when it came to caring.
I discovered that I should care for people just because it’s the right thing to do. Truly great leaders truly care. They simply love people. They care about them almost like their own children. Most of us don’t love our children so we can get something out of them. We just love them because they are ours.
Here is a test for you. Would you invest and carefully nurture an individual if you knew they were leaving your team in the next month? If you answered yes, then bravo. If you care for a person’s future even when they leave you, then you truly care. If you care about their life outside of work, even when it has nothing to do with work, then you truly care. If you honor their dreams and find a way to help them get there, even if their dreams do not match yours, then you truly care.
And the more you truly care, the better leader you will become. People will see through you and know your heart—if not right away, then within a short time they will. If you truly love your people, they will know. And if you love them for self-serving reasons, they will also know. And if you are uncaring or even abusive, you certainly cannot hide that.
I want to work for leaders who care for me, the whole me: my dreams, my growth, my career, my family, my life. And for those leaders I will give my undying support and dedication. I will give them all I’ve got because they give me all they’ve got.
So my friend, I want to challenge you today…if you care, make sure that you care for the right reasons. And if you don’t care, please do your people a favor and get out of leadership. Or better yet, just start caring.
Question: As a leader, how do you develop your capacity to care for people?
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