Communicating as a Leader

Excerpt From The Art Of Managing: Serving Others And The Community

Jane Treber Macken asked:

In the workplace, you see very smart people who never actually “make it” in supervision or management. Often, the reason is that even with all their knowledge, they cannot relate to other people, including motivating others and getting them on their side. They do not possess the sense of community, the caring and compassion for others.

It takes courage and acceptance of the knowledge that our responsibility in this life is to our own healthy development and not to controlling someone else’s development. The key is to let other people grow, develop, and live their own experiences. Our need to control someone else generally results from our own insecurities. Because we lack the understanding of our own personal worth, we look for it in someone else’s devotion to us.

I have observed that folks who were raised in small towns and/or large families usually have a great sense of community. In these situations, everyone knows everyone’s business and there are few secrets, and when you need help and support, the community/family is there for you. These trusting relationships carry over into these people’s adult lives and often result in demonstrative, genuine caring and compassion for others. People like working with and for these types of people.

Even if you did not have the opportunity to be raised in a small town or a large family, you can learn these skills through community involvement and mentorship. For example, you can donate time to a community project (Junior Achievement, Adopt-A-Highway, Run for Cancer, etc.), make an honest effort to bond with others by being open and honest in everything that you do, and find someone who has these skills to act as your mentor. A mentor can help you by pointing out behaviors that help you develop this skill as well as behaviors that get in the way of developing this skill. For example, a good mentor is someone who has a good sense of community and shows caring and compassion for others. This person will not be afraid to be candid with you and will not simply tell you what you want to hear. Good mentors will be honest and open because they want you to succeed.

Folks who do not have these skills may not be truthful and honest because their internal dialogue is saying “He won’t like me” or “I am afraid of retaliation.” These types of people come from fear-based thinking that brings about dishonesty and lying. In their minds, they are not actually lying; what they are saying is their truth because of the fear they might feel if they were to tell the truth. It is only when folks are truthful and honest that they can build and maintain successful organizational relationships.

Organizations want to build successful leaders and collaborative teams to enhance existing processes or develop new processes. Leaders and team members who have a sense of community, caring, and compassion for others function fully. They are aware that for success, all must succeed. You are only as good as your weakest member. Successful people serve and teach others.

For my dissertation, I interviewed several successful industry leaders who supported the theory of serving others by incorporating each team member’s personal vision with their vision. They described how they develop a clear personal vision and focus their energies toward that vision. Each one of them took time to reflect, contemplate, or dream of where they wanted to be and where they needed to take others, whether personal, family, company, or community.

The gift of caring for others is taught early in life; however, this is a skill that can be learned at any age. Even though we tend to do as our parents did or as someone we looked up to and modeled did, we can change our behaviors if challenged and taught.

Successful leaders feel a connection to others and life itself, which is one of the elements of personal mastery. They also demonstrate two additional elements: the ability to have a clear personal vision and focused energies to achieve that vision by serving the needs of others, including the business and community. I believe that by reaching out to others, we not only help them in their need, but also meet our own individual needs of affiliation, achievement, and power. It’s a continuous circle of giving and receiving-the more you give the more you get.

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