Giving is as old as the ages, and is even cited in the original business plan for life, the Bible, but very few people see giving as a value added, core competency in business.
Unfortunately, society seems to be teaching us that taking succeeds and suckers give. Well, "suckers" like Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, and entertainment icon Quincy Jones have not done so bad with this giving thing. And some of the most generous "givers" in the corporate space, such as Wells Fargo and US Bank, are also some of the same companies that have emerged on the other end of this global economic crisis with their balance sheets and their businesses still intact.
Giving IS getting.
Giving starts with how you serve those who work inside your organization, and then radiates out to others you serve as part of your mission. How you treat your employees is an important sign of how you treat everyone else in your business and in your life. If you can get it right here, you can get it right with your customers, your clients, your stakeholders.
Why not give? Easy. Fear, and fear is the ultimate prosperity killer -- you will never go wrong, doing right. And do right long enough and it will pay dividends that builds wealth too - as relationships return for repeat business, trust drives business to you that others have not earned, and individuals of power, experience and wisdom chose to make investments in you over others. On every level, love leadership provides the leader in business, politics, civil society, home and life with a strategic advantage over everyone else.
Love Leadership. Be a leader who shows up!
Love leadership of your people begins with love leadership inside of you. As the leader of your life, your family, your organization, your community, your city, or your country, you have got to represent the change you want to see in the world.
Show up in the offices of your partners around the world. Show up in underserved communities. Show up at regular staff meetings; sit in the back until asked to speak, if asked to speak. Show up in the lives of the employees, and sometimes their families, too. If a family member passes away, or a team member goes into the hospital, show up at services, make a call, or send a personal note.
Be the boss who is working as hard or harder than your workers do to "get it right" for those you serve.
It does not take much effort, and it takes even less money. But it does take interest. Little things count. Sometimes little things count the most. That's love leadership in action.
Today, show up with a simple question for your employees: "What can I do to help you do your job?" Most of the time the answer is nothing at all, but the staff member usually appreciates that you asked, and that you really listened when they responded. They know they have a chit of sorts in their pocket, if at a time in the future they have a need, or simply want to talk.
Employees want to know that their employer takes an interest in them for the long-term and wants them to succeed.
Intent matters when you are serving people. No matter what your end product or service, success always boils down to the people. Without them, you are nothing. And without serving them, you won't achieve your ambitious goals.
John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy as well as chairman of the Council Committee on the Under-Served, financial literacy advisor to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, a Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum, and author of LOVE LEADERSHIP; A New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), which debuted in August, 2009, #8 in the CEO Reads Top 10 Best Seller List.
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