With February’s theme being “Sharing the Love,” we wanted to reflect on how WE as leaders in business could apply that to our own lives. As “commanders of our ship,” we’re trained to constantly be thinking about our workforce – what they’re doing for us, how they help us grow and how they could better our businesses overall. We want to make sure we hire great people who treat others with respect and admiration and who create a loving environment that flows with positive morale. But as most of us know, anything and everything in business “starts at the top.”
Whether good or bad, a business’ sentiment is a reflection of the management. Which is why it’s so important to be cognizant of the types of behaviors you exude as a leader – one of the most important being generosity. “A leader’s generosity has a positive spreading effect – conversely, its absence has a series of negative consequences that, if a leader paused to reflect on them, may stop her in her tracks,” quotes an article titled Degrees of Giving – Leading with Generosity.
But what does being a “generous leader” really mean? According to that same article, it means “giving someone a chance; giving someone the benefit of the doubt; and giving others a reason to want to work for you. It entails giving others latitude, permission to make mistakes, and all the information that they need to do the job… In a nutshell, all of this translates to generosity of spirit, a quality we admire in leaders.”
Sometimes its hard to put yourself in others’ shoes, such as your employees who are starting at the bottom. But we were all there once and we all had a leader that we admired. Looking back on that time, what was it about that person that made you respect them? Was it because they were rich? Or powerful? Or because they had a personal assistant? Did you respect them because they treated people badly or conducted business in a sketchy manner? Probably not. Most likely it was because of the way that person handled themselves in their place of business, most importantly with the way they treated others, regardless of their position.
For some reason, we think that people with power are on a different level than we are and therefore lower our expectations of them. However, when they shatter those expectations with kindness, generosity and an overall sense of respect for who you are and what you do, not just for the company but in life, it makes us not only respect those leaders, but it also makes us feel good about working for someone like that. And liking your leader and having respect and admiration for them is something that many employees look for but don’t always find. When they do find that though, they’re more likely to stick around, more likely to help boost morale and more likely to strive to be that same kind of leader some day.
As a leader, your generosity is contagious to your business and it shows your clients and employees that your intentions are heart-centered. It will create an environment that will thrive with integrity and success and will make you proud of the relationships that support you in your place of power. So as you go about your day in conducting your business, think back to that leader you once admired (and probably still do). Do you exemplify those same traits that they did? Are you someone that your employees would look up to and admire? Someone once said “Being generous in spirit is a wonderful way to live.” And we couldn’t agree more.
Read the full Degrees of Giving article HERE.