What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

“Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!”

What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

I often get into conversations with people about leadership, and am asked what I think makes a great leader. In researching for decades the answer to that question, and in evolving my own leadership capacity over these past 40 years in business, I have come to the simple realization that the best leaders all share one significant capacity – leaders like, even love people!

I make a clear distinction between who is considered a “leader” versus other descriptors such as manager, supervisor, director, owner, principle or entrepreneur. While we may have titles, occupy roles on an org chart, and hold various positions of power, I see the label of ‘leader’ truly going to those men and women who go beyond their role and connect authentically and meaningfully with other people.

Owners invest for a future payoff. Entrepreneurs create something from nothing. Managers and supervisors focus on getting things done. If those are your main areas of focus and interest, and see people as a means to your end goal, then you may achieve some marginal amount of success. On the other hand, you may be filling any of these roles, and yet you have this extra ingredient that truly makes you a leader – you love to connect with others!

I see leadership as the way we go beyond just the required work transactions in our lives. People with an ‘owners’ mindset are typically great with money and finances, and can see how investing pays off down the road – but if that’s all they’re interested in, they see people as a means to that end, and stay disconnected and disinterested in others beyond their own self-interest. Entrepreneurs bring so much passion and energy to their work, and have so many ideas – yet if they are so consumed by their work they may fail to include others in their formula for success, create distance and bear the brunt of all the stress. Managers (directors, supervisors, leads) get into those roles because they like to set goals, get things done and get promoted, but if meeting expectations and targets are their key focus they will see people as ‘parts of a machine,’ a necessary ‘evil,’ or as ‘stepping stones’ they have to deal with, and create environments of disengagement and discontent.

Those who value money and numbers over people are not necessarily leaders. Our current business paradigm is based on making the numbers and profits, and there are millions of business-people who are considered successful because they meet numbers first. Yet, there are leaders who focus first on people and end up making more money than their competitors.

No matter the title or role, those who we look at as true leaders are those who make a personal connection to us, who really care about us, who communicate regularly, and who have a greater sense of purpose about our work above the daily drudgery. Leaders build trust, build teams, and build people. Leaders care! They care about people. They put people first. And it’s OK to say that leaders love people, their people!

Don’t confuse someone who is bold, visionary, wealthy, successful, or famous, as a leader. If they also exude connection and caring of people then you may call them a leader.

Think about those in your life right now who are in positions of power and authority. Maybe it’s your parent, relative, friend, your boss, your boss’s boss, or yourself. Look at those who you admire for their leadership capacities and see what characteristics they have that make you call them a leader. Why do you go the extra mile for someone and not for another? Why do you feel better in someone’s presence, and not in others? Why do you want to stay where you are and be more engaged and productive, and want to get away, leave or find another job when around others?

Owners, entrepreneurs, and managers are all necessary, and sometimes leaders also occupy those roles. Look at your own mindset and ask yourself a few questions:

– Do I really like people, being around them, helping them get what they need to get things done?

– Can I see a bigger picture of what we are doing and help others see that as well?

– Do I think about what I can do to expand my ability to care for others?

– Am I truly interested in others succeeding?

These time call for more leaders than ever before. No matter your tile or role, anyone can be a leader. Leadership requires one key element – CARE. Do you care about what’s going on? Do you care about others winning? Do you care about what others need, think, and say?

Look at your own Care Quotient – your CaQi! The good news is that no matter how you evaluate yourself in this area, you can expand it if you desire. Increasing your care capacity will require you expand your emotional intelligence, which includes compassion, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-management skills, handling emotions and being more self-aware around others.

I have been expanding my capacity for care and love my entire life, and you can too! The payoffs to caring are immense and life-changing: more connections, more joy, more peace, more freedom, more fulfillment, more prosperity, and more love. If any of these are of interest to you, the royal road to realizing them is through caring. Join me in expanding leadership in our work and in our relationships!

Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!

I Want To Write About Acceptance . . .

A few years ago I was introduced to the Irish poet David Whyte, who has a very unique way not only of generating powerful prose, he also powerfully verbalizes his meaning through the spoken word. One of his poems titled, “I want to write about Faith” allowed him to express what was preventing him from living an aspect of his life more fully and alive. I have used his template, ‘I want to write about…’ a few times in my past, where I felt stuck, fearful, or was hiding and playing small. Once I was able to articulate and write about what was the challenge I faced was, the shackles of reasons and excuses for not moving powerfully forward started to dissolve.

Recently, I did some deep dives into a few areas that were revealed as major blind spots I had that have been running behind my conscious awareness, that have been interfering with me living the life I fully envision. First I came face to face with an ocean of disappointment, and saw how its debilitating factors have taken their toll. As I wrote about that, I saw the opposite to disappointment – Acceptance – and that so resonated with me I wrote about embodying that in my spirit and life. Thus the poem below….

I want to write about ACCEPTANCE!

The possibility of living a life of, in, and for Acceptance is the opportunity and commitment that awaits before me.

Acceptance is a great challenge, a great gateway to abiding enlightenment, peace and love.

Acceptance demands an awareness of Presence.

Acceptance requires continuous love, respect, regard and appreciation for Myself, just as I am.

Acceptance is not being attached, fully letting go of all expectations, beliefs, stories and patterns of old.

Acceptance is trusting in a Universe, a Universal power, just because – without perfect knowing.

Acceptance is allowing and welcoming whatever is happening before me – and being totally OK with It.

Acceptance is letting go of all Resistance.

Acceptance is simply accepting what IS, without judgement, blame, or shame.

Acceptance is wanting what Life wants, what Presents Life Presents to me, in any given moment.

Acceptance is Living Life fully.

Acceptance allows me to see, and Be, what IS.

Fear – and all its components – can’t live, survive long, in the atmosphere of acceptance.

It’s human to have desires, intentions – just have them with no attachments to outcomes.

Intention – Attention – No-Tension!

Keeping my hands off the steering wheel, I set loving, powerful, authentic intentions; I pay adequate attention to nurture them forward; and I keep my senses wide open as my vehicle of Life moves about, observing the joyous manifestations of those very intentions.

Acceptance is Freedom, Peace, Integrity, Power, and Self-Expression.

Acceptance is Kind, Caring, Compassionate and Fun.

Acceptance is the highest form of Love:

– Love for Self

– Love for Life

– Love for Others

– Love for What IS.

Acceptance is my ticket to the royal road of living to the max – and to be of highest service for what Life what’s from, of, by, and for me.

Acceptance is being fully awake, aware, and alive – in every moment!

I accept Acceptance!

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lau Tzu


I Have A Dream!

I have this reoccurring dream. In it, I see . . .

People who are fully alive, living from their own healthy states of well-being, fulfillment and possibilities.

– They do so because we found ways to liberate the human spirit, in our educational system and in our world of work. So many leaders have stepped forward to help people break through old, ineffective or limiting ways and belief systems, and now honor the unique individuality of each person. No longer are we pushing people along like widgets on conveyor belts in factories, nor are we Pidgeonholing them into cubicles and rigid job descriptions.

– Countless leaders have evolved and stepped forward to see their role not as dictator, task-master nor bureaucrat, but as catalysts for their people to learn, grow, team, and fully develop into their highest and best selves.

– This new ‘authentic leader’ is someone who has: followed their own deep personal growth path that allowed them to see their strengths, weaknesses, levels of emotional intelligence, and how they are experienced by those around them, and were open to change (which really means they were open to seeing where they were being inauthentic, and were able to let that conditioned part of them go). Their personal transformation was deepened by their ability to take responsibility for their own lives and their participation in the relationships of their lives, and to make new choices on how to fully show up. Their capacity to be more open, honest and vulnerable with others has made them much more effective and endearing, and people naturally want to offer more to enrich the spaces they all inhabit, be it at home or especially at work.

– These authentic leaders build highly trusting environments, knowing people are imperfect and mistakes will be made, yet able to nurture cultures where people feel supported to stretch, try new things, and if they fail they know the leader and team has their back. We now have more managers, decision makers, and change agents who want to improve the wellbeing of each and every person in their organization than ever before!

– When people are supported and cared for, they will naturally step up their levels of involvement and performance, thus willingly increasing their effectiveness and that of their teammates.

– People are also exposed to ever-deeper insights into their own make-up, often at their leaders nudging, and are clearer about who they are as an individual. They know their own personal core values. They have reconnected to their root passion. They are more aware of their strengths, and choose their own growth paths in areas they want to improve. They have developed a personal sense of purpose, and have learned new ways to seek employment that more fully align with who they are, rather than just taking jobs for the pay and benefits.

– Our organizations have high levels of alignment and engagement from all employees and contractors, resulting in high output, low cost, high quality/service, low/no turnover enterprises. This creates larger profit margins where owners enhance the pocketbook not only for themselves but for their employees, thus furthering the connection between employee and organization.

– With cultures experiencing higher trust and care from leadership, people look for ways to make better decisions and dramatically improve results. They also become more skilled at decision-making, communication, and also with conflict resolution, because all three are needed to have higher-performing teams.

– These teams tackle complex issues, throughout our societies many organizations, and we are seeing huge positive impacts on such macro issues like clean energy proliferation, personalized education and childhood well-being, healthcare delivery, sustainable food production, infrastructure redevelopment, elimination of pollution and maximization of natural resource utilization. We see healthier, happier, better educated and personally fulfilled people everywhere, across all cultural/sex/age/heritage/religious lines.

– The workplace is where everyone gets to exercise their unique talents and fulfill their life’s purpose. We have forever changed the way we work and do business in the world. No longer profit / money focused, we build enterprises that are people-centric, and thus in the process deliver significantly higher levels of profit and material gain for all stakeholders to partake.

– In this dream we have redefined the definition of success – shifting it from a money-fame-material gain formula, to one where the human spirit is fully alive, unleashed and effective, making a difference, being fully of service, and living at sustainably higher levels of well-being and fulfillment – where true joy and happiness are generated.

– I see a world where loving leaders are awakening, inspiring and empowering people to become their authentic selves, to come fully alive, and be of highest service through the offering of their work. As the human spirit is fully unleashed, we are afire in loving our work, living our workplace, loving our co-workers. In this powerful space, our work becomes a grand vehicle for us to play full out, and thus positively change the world!

I know, like John Lennon’s lyrics . . . You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one!

Yet, I’m also reminded by the old quote by Napoleon Hill: “What the mind can conceive it can achieve!”

So, let’s dream, conceive, and achieve together! What else can be of greater importance than the health, well-being, development and happiness of all of us humans?

What’s Most Important Now!

In our busy and information over-loaded world, even with all the technological advancements designed to enhance our productivity and effectiveness, most people feel they are not getting things done either on time or as intended. Too many things pile up on ‘to-do’ lists, and we only accomplish a fraction, leaving a sense of failure, frustration or worry. What great intentions or expectations we may start the week off with often are still sitting in front of us, adding to our increasing sense of stress, by weeks end.

Getting things done is a requirement to living and working, yet it amazes me that so few believe they are good at it. What I see the most productive and efficient people do is a simple yet highly effective discipline they practice weekly. It doesn’t include learning anything or buying any more programs. It does however invite you to look anew at the way your work-life world flows.

Try this – Before the Monday morning grind begins, make a master list of all the things you think of that you think you need to get done. Look at all of them within the three categories of you have to, should do, and would like to accomplish this week. Then, starting with the have to category, take a few moments and just take in all the things you listed there, and just look at them as a whole – just look at each of them, all of them, and ask yourself the question: “By weeks end, which of these would be most life-changing, impactful, fulfilling for me if it/they were completed successfully? Let your hand highlight which one or few items are the game-changers in your life this week. Then do the same for the should do and would like to categories, until only the most important items are noted in your field of vision.

When we break things out into separate categories of importance, and allow ourselves to momentarily contemplate each categors items as a whole, the most significant things typically become very obvious. Allow that contemplative time to sort out the maze and emotional energetic attachments of all things listed, while you keep focusing on the question, “By week’s end, which of these would be most life-changing, impactful, fulfilling for me if it/they were completed successfully?”

One key piece of advice make sure you answer the “for me” part of the question above in that context, and not for any others. While many things on your list are might be there at the request or need of others in your life, find the ones that are most impactful to you personally and professionally, and allow that internal motivation to kick in first.

As you start to take those things most important to you off your list as you complete them, your sense of accomplishment, success and happiness increases dramatically. Allow that energy to spur your energy forward. Now you can look back at your three categories and begin to tackle those items of next level of importance. Contemplate again on those items left and see which ones pop up in your awareness.

It’s important to plan your work, and then to work your plan. This practice will allow you to better determine which, of all the things you want to accomplish, are the ones that will be the most positively impactful for you. There is great power, confidence and joy that arises when we just ‘get things done,’ and learning how to let your inner guidance system help you determine those things will make you a person you and others trust and admire in being an effective member of your teams and communities.

Getting things done is crucial to living a successful, prosperous, fulfilling life and career – knowing how to get things done easily and highly effectively requires a regular practice that will pay huge material, financial and psychic dividends over your lifetime! Enjoy being known as a get-it-done person!