Great leaders take care of their people

In regards to leadership, I think the one question I am asked the most often is, “how can you tell if someone is a good leader”? There are many ways to assess someone’s leadership ability. For example, there are surveys and questionnaires, tools for 360-degree feedback or the archaic and way overvalued performance evaluation. There are goals and outcomes which can be compared and measured, but in regards to leadership, I think one simple question provides more relevant information than all of the other options combined.

While this question is simple and to the point, I think it speaks volumes about leaders. The question is this, “how do you take care of your people“? I believe that great leaders take care of their people, plain and simple, you either do this or you don’t, there is no middle ground. This is as black and white as it gets. Great leaders are able to place their people at such a high priority that policies and procedures, processes, practices, products, and profit are all a very, very distant second to taking care of their people. Great leaders want to empower, inspire and serve their people every single day. For great leaders, their people are their number one priority and they demonstrate that by taking care of them.

I have been fortunate to work with some great leaders who have chosen to live out the answer to this question in very real and tangible ways. They made it clear that regardless of what their job description said, they were there to take of their people. Sometimes they did this in monetary ways, other times it was meeting a need outside of work that was stressful for someone and other times it may have been making sure that a person was working in an environment that brought out the best in them. Regardless of how that care is demonstrated people know with great clarity when their leaders are taking care of them

If you are questioning your value as a leader I challenge you to wrestle with this question; “how do I take care of my people”? Your answer to this question is important but the greater value rests in how your people would answer that very question about you. How do they feel you take of them?

If your people can not list concrete and tangible ways that you take care of them then I firmly question the authenticity of your leadership.