There is a lot to learn about leadership.
Leadership is in some ways very multifaceted, complex, and unique to the situations where it is called for.
Recently, I attended the unfortunate and unexpected yet uplifting funeral of a legend of Southwestern culture, Spencer Hays. Spencer was a personal mentor of mine and someone whom I’ve always admired.
Spencer made generous decisions as a leader that will impact many eras of people who come after him.
And one by one as his friends, family, colleagues and business partners took the podium to talk about him, a recurring theme kept coming up…
It reminded me that, while sometimes complex, there are some simple truths about leadership that are bankable.
One of those is that leadership is always about working with and through other people.
And people, although also incredibly diverse and unique, very often exhibit similar behaviors, desires, and needs in similar situations.
Generally speaking, one thing people yearn for is to be appreciated.
Very often, even more than making more money, they yearn to feel valued.
They yearn to not only be recognized, but to feel wanted, successful, and admired.
Therein lies a tremendous opportunity that is immediately available to anyone who wants to become a better leader and that is this:
Learn to make people feel special.
Learn to make people feel important.
Learn to make people feel wanted.
Become an expert at it.
If people feel cared for, they will likely be more committed to contributing.
Because we don’t live in a world that really lacks information, knowledge, or education.
We live in a world however where people are often starving to feel valued and important.
Spencer was a rare leader who understood this and practiced it day in and day out in a way that mattered to so many.
It’s ironic perhaps that in our social media society we have more “friends” and get more “likes” than ever before, and yet somehow it has all seemed to erode the number of times in our life where we actually feel special.
That creates an amazing opportunity for us to lead because that is one of the core parts of what leadership is: connecting with and inspiring people.
If you want to lead people; listen to people.
If you want to lead people; look after people.
If you want to lead people; lift up people.
If you want to lead people; love people.
Make them feel special. Make them feel valued. Make them feel important.
If you can do that then many of them will immediately follow you because unfortunately there are only a rare few, like Spencer, who actually know how to truly make everyone feel special.