Personal vs Professional
For many years I drove 40 minutes to see my dentist, Dr. Mary Cloin, in Arlington, Texas. There were many other dentists much closer to where I lived. So, why did I drive that distance? I felt a personal connection with him and his staff. They knew me.
Over the years, this question always comes up as I discuss leadership with people: Should we be professional or personal?
Building a Bond
As I enter the examination rooms to see my patients, I have a choice to make. See them as a patient I care about, or see them as a human being I care about. And while as far as I know, my medical decisions are just as sound in either case, I am also aware that something happens when I see my patients as people, not just as patients. I choose the personal approach anytime possible because that’s when a bond happens that creates healing for both them and me.
Creating a Connection
Here is another example of how being more personable establishes a lasting connection. Ever since I was a child, I have gone to the symphony and watched conductors from afar. I have seen musicians staring at their sheet music, focusing on their instruments, and playing magically. Recently, I experienced music in a different way. My friend, Karen Hall, a cellist and member of the Fort Worth Symphony started writing a blog. Karen and her husband Kevin, a professional bassoonist, formed a chamber music quartet. They play concerts in homes.
Reading her blogs gives you an insight into the person, the conductor, and the musician. In one of her posts, she shares about her 100+ year-old cello, and the connection she has to it. And in another, about the arduous practice their ensemble goes through. In one post, she talks about the kind of paper she selects for their programs, when they perform in homes. After you read her thoughts, and attend one of their concerts, you cannot but help but feel so much more connected to the music and the musicians.
Forging a Friendship
As leaders, we face the same choices. Personal? Or professional? Many choose professional only, and their leadership suffers. Remember that personal does not negate professional. But we must go beyond professional into the personal.
Professional says, “I will treat you with respect.”
Personal says, “I will know you as a human being.”
Professional says, “I will do my duty to my utmost ability.”
Personal says, “I will go beyond my duty, into the realm of sacrifice if I need to.”
Professional says, “I will know you enough to take care of you.”
Personal says, “I will know you fully, because I love you.”
Know the person. Make it personal anytime you can.
For Further Reading: