Great Leaders Have A Caring Heart, Here's Why.
Updated: Feb 6
Vince Lombardi is arguably the greatest NFL coach of all time and was viewed as a hard-driving, tough football coach; but Lombardi earned the right to drive his talent to the limit because his intense drive was balanced by his equally fierce caring.
He loved his players dearly and was passionate about growing members of his team in a highly intimate and personal way. In Kevin Cashman’s article, The Three L’s of Leadership: Love, Listen and Leap, Kevin had the opportunity to coach many of Lombardi’s former players who transitioned into their business career, all of whom spoke about Lombardi in an entirely different light.
Many of his players said “I have never been so loved by someone outside my family. We all knew he would do anything for us…anything. We would go through walls for this man.” One of the hallmark traits of great leaders is their genuine care and love for their team. It's quite natural if you think about it; we are social animals, and over time, you develop a bond and built a relationship with people at work.
Leadership is all about people, and quite naturally, you will develop some feelings towards members of your team to the point where the team is considered family.
Leaders Need To Do What's Best For Their Team.
As a leader, how you feel about a person is irrelevant, according to Anderson Leadership Solution. Leaders need to do what is best for the individual no matter how they feel about them. Is that easy? No! But a leader must act unselfishly and ignore his or her feelings. As the leader, your role is not to do what you want to do, but to do what is best for the people you lead.
Show Your Team You Care
Being a good leader means caring about the people you’re leading, according to Dede Henley. Every leader must communicate that they care about their people, but caring is about actions, not just words. So, how can you show you care? According to Dede, get personal with your team, show interest in people’s lives, ask questions, and really listen to their concerns, suggestion, and feedback on personal and professional issues.
Develop A Personality of Caring
Caring needs to be inherent in the leader, not a part of their role according to Gayle Hardie. Caring leaders don’t care because they think they should or because they see caring as part of their role. They care because it is a part of who they are. They demonstrate care as a default, ‘above the line’ response: something they do without thinking.
How do you become a caring leader?
According to Gayle, an excellent way to start is to increase your awareness of the way you tend to respond when someone cares for you. Is your automatic response to reject that care, to push it away? Is it to turn your back and to question their motives? Is it to try and be ‘brave,’ suggesting that you don’t need their concern?
All of these responses can be quite common in leaders, particularly as contemporary leadership stereotypes encourage ‘strength’ and self-reliance as oppose to asking others for help. However, reactions like this can also indicate a disconnection with the heart center, placing more emphasis on the task or the situation rather than recognizing the potential of the relationship and genuine caring to achieve great results.
A caring leader is very intuitive, and they will notice a change in the mood of someone for example and enquire about their wellbeing; They see the importance of building confidence in their people and enabling them to find their way.
When people have a good relationship with their leader, and they know their leader genuinely care about their development personally and professionally according to Dede; they’re more motivated, they perform better, they are more inspired, and they’re more likely to go the extra mile to support their team and to help their leader and by extension the company achieve its goals and purpose.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 310,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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