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We can be a miserable lot. Humans.
History has proven our capacity to treat one another poorly. The first children ever born demonstrate it. Cain killed his brother Abel.
According to the FBI, 24.8% of homicides are committed by family members. Just imagine how horrific we can behave toward people we don’t even care about. Or love.
Before you think I’m pessimistic about life and people, tap the brakes. I’m optimistic. Truly. And I’m hopeful.
But I’m realistic and practical. Fact is, people have stuff. Their own stuff. It’s natural for us to say we care about somebody else…until it comes down to them or us. Then, we choose us.
Jeffrey Gitomer has illustrated the point for years in his live presentations by asking the audience, “Who is the most important person in the world?” Universally, people shout out, “The customer!”
Gitomer chuckles, then says, “No, you don’t understand. There are two people on the planet. You and the customer. One of you must die. Who will die?”
The crowd laughs and in unison shout, “The customer!”
Yes, indeed. In the battle between us and death, with the customer being part of the equation – the customer will die before we do. At least if we have our way about it. Says Gitomer, “So we’ve now established that YOU are the most important person in the world.”
Which clearly explains why we’re able to treat each other shabbily.
It also explains why I made YOU the central character in today’s title. But let’s step back and begin with your leadership because that’s all about your willingness to serve others.
Do YOU want what’s best for your people? And I don’t mean in the context of what they can do for you or your business. I mean do you care about what’s best for them, period. No strings attached. No hidden or open agenda. Most importantly, no judgment on your part. Meaning, you don’t try to live their lives for them. You don’t second guess their choices. And no, I’m not talking about supporting people who engage in behavior that is detrimental to what’s best for them. For example, a husband involved in an extra-marital affair needs to look elsewhere to get any support from me. I don’t choose to support immoral, unethical or illegal behavior in spite of the person’s desire to engage in it. But otherwise, my personal conviction is that I have enough trouble living my own life. I have no desire to live yours – or anybody else’s.
Let’s make it real. You have a remarkable employee who tenders their resignation because they’ve accepted an incredible opportunity that you simply can’t best. Are you happy and supportive because it’s what’s ideal for them as they see it? Or, are you angry because they’re leaving and how you’ve got to endure the hassle of replacing them?
Don’t lie. Tell the truth.
Remember the question – who is the most important person here?
In this context, it’s them. Not you.
Work on becoming a superior leader who puts the welfare of your employees ahead of yourself. Yes, the business has needs that employees must meet. Things work well – best – when those needs are mutually met. When the scales tip in either direction, then the balance is lost and something must give. When the company needs are met, but the employee’s needs aren’t – the employee will leave. Rightfully so. When the employee needs are met, but the company needs go wanting – then a compromise must take place or the employee will likely need to find a new home so they can continue to fulfill their needs.
Now let’s talk about YOU.
Who cares about you? Who cares enough about you that you don’t question the fact that they absolutely, positively want what’s best for you?
Here’s the acid test. Who in your life wants what’s best for you and they’re willing to support your dreams and ambitions without judgment?
Does it shock you that in my experience very few people declare having somebody in their life who passes the acid test? It’s far more common for me to hear, “I’m not sure I’ve got anybody like that.” Or, “Well, that’s asking for quite a lot, isn’t it?”
Sadly, people crave people who believe in them and want what’s best for them. We all do. It’s such a big void in people’s lives.
So big in fact that some time ago I began talking about it at my hobby podcast – Leaning Toward Wisdom – in a project I’ve labeled #CravingEncouragement. I even registered the URL CravingEncouragement.com.
It’s a universal desire and void. People who want what’s best for us.
Today’s call to action isn’t so much about you finding such people as it is about you becoming such a person for others. It’s the best path forward. For us to begin the movement by leading and showing others the way. By daily committing ourselves to learn, understand, and grow as we help others achieve the things best for them. Do that and it’s bound to lead to good things for you. Somewhere along the way you’ll encounter or befriend somebody – hopefully a group of somebodies – who will reciprocate. But if you don’t, then you’ll know you’re doing a major work and making your part of the universe more powerfully good.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!