You must realize that leading someone does not consist of getting them to do what you want, but putting value on what they want.

I’ve been a leader in various organizations and of teams of various sizes for the last twenty years. These teams have been as small as three to as large as 1800.

Over that period of time, I’ve lived my life and treated those around me with an overarching idea that I learned from my parents and at my church as a child: the Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself; treat others as you want to be treated. No matter how you say it, it always comes back to this: don’t do something to someone that you don’t want them to do to you.

This concept is common in leadership development programs, and is often preached in business today.

Harry C. Handlin, former President of Lincoln Electric is quoted as saying: “If, as managers, we treat our employees the way that we would like to be treated, we are rewarded with a dedicated, talented and loyal work force that will consistently meet the needs of the marketplace.” In Jeb Blount’s bestselling leadership book, People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership, following the Golden Rule is a key leadership principle.

Where Leaders Go Wrong

But my experience leads me to believe that the golden rule alone, especially in the context of today’s society, is not the mark of a good leader.

The golden rule, while a great start, is by its very nature self-centered and the focus must be on oneself to apply it.

You must ask, “How do I want to be treated?”

Then, base your action on those thoughts, those feelings, and the belief that what you want is also what others want.

It is an action or a thought with the goal or intent of influencing others. From that very point you go wrong has a leader.

Seeing is Leading

The first step you must take as a leader is you must SEE.

You must SEE all others as people with all the value, the needs, and the hopes dreams that you have.

You must realize that leading someone does not consist of getting them to do what you want, but putting value on what they want.

Leading means honoring the fact that they have value and seeing them as such.

Without this “sight”, anything you do you will do with the mindset of how it impacts you and your organization, not how is it impacting those that you are leading.

Just Like You

So as a leader and in your daily life, always try to see others as people.

When you manage to board the plane early and snag that coveted aisle seat, don’t put your newspaper in the seat next to you and try to look intimidating to keep people from taking the seat.

Instead, see them as a person just like you that has needs just like you and treat them as such.

The ability to see those around you as they are and to recognize their needs, wants, and desires is the first step to being a true leader.

About the author

Ricky Grantham

Ricky Grantham is an accomplished senior master trainer and Sales Gravy’s western region Director…

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