The Gold Standard of Leadership is adding value to people through positive influence. Leadership is all about people, inspiring them, motivating them and equipping them to reach their potential and do the same for others within the context of a leader’s vision.
I learned early on that my visions and dreams had to be secondary to the needs of the people I assembled to help me accomplish them. The saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is true. “What’s the return on my investment in the leader’s vision” is an honest and important question everyone should ask.
When I was in grade school, our teacher had the class form groups, and she assigned each group a task. I was the leader in my group, and we had the most fun working together until we noticed that some of the other groups were way ahead of us in completing their assignments, that’s when my group began asking me why we were so far behind.
Our teacher came over and asked us how we were coming along, neither of us had an answer. I couldn’t explain what my plan was because I hadn’t come up with one. “Then why are we doing this” was the next question. The teacher chose another leader for our group, and I learned an important lesson about leadership.
“If we build on personality instead of character when leading others, we will always resort to manipulation to get them to accomplish the objectives” – JSP
I wasn’t leading my group, I was entertaining them. I was just happy to have my friends in “my own little group,” I never gave a thought to how we were going to finish out the assignment, and I hadn’t noticed that some of them were growing impatient with me.
Stephen R. Covey said; “If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other—while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity or insincerity—then, in the long run, I cannot be successful”.
My duplicity will breed distrust, in everything I do—even using good human relations techniques will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.1
The Gold Standard of Leadership is adding value to people through positive influence. The leader’s influence should be both an inspiring and valuable equipping experience. I hadn’t equipped any of my friends. Therefore, I hadn’t added any value to them either. The foundational principle of leadership is the golden rule “treat others as you want to be treated yourself.”
THE WORK OF “A. R. T.”
The two most basic needs of every human being are a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. Without acceptance and a reason for one’s services life loses its meaning. The acronym “A. R. T.” stands for three important principles of the golden rule, they are appreciation, respect, trust. If you as a leader want to be appreciated, respected and trusted you will have to develop them as your character traits.
Isn’t it true that you know you are valued when you’re appreciated for what you do? Isn’t it important for you to know that your contribution means something? A sincere compliment goes a long way in boosting our self-esteem. As a leader, you possess the ability to change the outlook and direction of the life of each member of your team or in your organization by expressing your honest appreciation for their efforts.
Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Showing respect for someone imparts dignity, it builds confidence and always leaves them with feeling validated. If you want respect, validate others by showing them respect.
Knowing that someone is truthful and reliable builds trust and trust is the glue that holds relationships together. Friendships, marriages and business agreements all succeed when trust is present in both parties. All relationships just function better when trust is present.
If you make the standard of your leadership golden, your outstanding achievements will be a work of “A. R. T.”
Begin treating everyone around you the way you want them to treat you. The golden rule has nothing to do with the response of others; it has to do with your character. The change begins with you.
1 “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey