By Jeff Haden Contributing editor, Inc.
The audience was polite but definitely not captivated. I was struggling to engage them. OK, to be honest, I was kinda dying onstage.
Maybe I was having an off day. Maybe they were having an off day.
Or maybe the fact every one of the 100 people in attendance was a CEO, an executive, or the owner of a medium to large business--meaning they were more accustomed to being listened to than to listening.
So I took a different approach. "In one sentence, what is the key to leading people?" I asked.
Throwaway question? Absolutely. I knew no one would answer. That was the point. They would sit and stare, and then I would supply an intentionally against-the-grain answer sure to spark some heat and conversation. (A little contrived, sure, but, hey, I was dying.)
So I asked my question and then paused to read the room. Some people looked down. Some looked away. As I expected, no one was going to answer. I was about to speak when a voice broke the silence.
"I think I know," a man sitting in the back corner said, somewhat hesitantly.
A few heads turned in his direction.
Mine did too, because I was a little surprised and a lot concerned. "Shoot," I thought. "Now I've stepped in it. He's about to whip out some leadership cliché or channel his inner John Maxwell or Stephen Covey." I started scrambling to figure out how to recover from the dead-end I was creating.
So I was only half-listening as he said, fairly quietly, "No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them."
"Can you repeat that?" I said.
A number of heads slowly turned in his direction. "We think we have all the answers, and maybe we do, but that doesn't matter. No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them," he repeated.
I stared. More heads turned in his direction.
He took the silence in the auditorium as disagreement.
"No, really," he said, starting to sound more confident. "Yeah, we're in charge, and, yeah, we talk about targets and goals and visions, but our employees don't care about any of that stuff for very long. We can communicate and engage and connect all we want, but no one really listens to us. They just smile and nod and go back to doing their jobs the way they always do.
"Our employees don't really care about what we want them to do until they know how much we care about them. When an employee knows--truly knows--that you care about them, then they care about you. And when they know you care, they will listen to you and they will do anything for you."
Best answer ever.
By Suzie Doscher
Imagine that after you turned 18, you stayed exactly as you were at that age. Nothing changed -- not your behaviour, beliefs, wisdom or knowledge. This sounds absurd, but some people look at life as if it stays the same and they no longer change or grow once they have reached 'maturity.' Seems more like a nightmare to me...
The other way of looking at life is that we never stop growing, developing and learning, which of course means changing. In my opinion, this is the healthier option. I would hate to be approaching life and its lessons in the same way as the 18-year-old Suzie did. With each step we take on the path of personal growth, things change causing us to experience life differently. Life and all it encompasses changes all the time, sometimes almost daily. It is exciting and rewarding to grow, develop and change.
Here are some steps to consider on the road of personal development:
"Your vision will become clear, only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."
Ready to start with your personal development?
Self-Help Book / Personal Development