Think of a leader you would die for? Think of a leader you love? Why do you love them? Why would you die for them? Is it because they have a title or a name? Is it because of their level of skill?

Generally not.

See we have all met people with a title (boss, pastor, rev, CEO) who are jerks and yet we have met people with a title who we love. Also, we have all met people who have great skill and knowledge and yet we don’t like to talk to them let alone die for them!

What is the difference between a leader who you love and leaders who you don’t really care about.

The difference is the leaders who we love make an effort to connect with us on an emotional level.

Do you make an effort to connect with the people you lead on an emotional level?

How do you do that?

Speak – you need to speak to the people you lead and let them know how much you value them. Tell them that you love them, tell them that they did a good job and be specific and enthusiastic in your praise. Don’t say “hey that was very helpful”  say “Man I loved the way you did X because of these four reasons and I found it encouraging because of Y and man I can’t wait to see you do that again. Great job! Leaders connect with words

Understanding- we all want to be understood. But do we as leaders go out of our way to understand the people we are leading? Do we seek to ask the question “Why are they thinking this?” or “Why is this an issue for them?” before we launch into a rebuttal of their views?

Emotional intelligence – I sat down with a woman a few days ago who interviewed a bunch of candidates for a pastoral position. I asked her what she thought of the talent coming out of the local bible college and her response was “They generally lack emotional intelligence!” Emotional intelligence is the ability to discern the where a person or a group of people are at emotionally and to tailor actions and words to the emotional climate. Young men find this extremely hard because we want to fix things and win. Emotional intelligence forces us to slow down and think but also do the hard work of communicating and caring. As leaders we need to work on our emotional intelligence. We need to empathise with the people we lead and we need to laugh and cry with them too.

Do what you say you will do – A way of loving people is to come through on your promises. If you say you will pray for them do you pray for them? If you say you will do something by this time do you do it? Are you a person who the people you lead can say “He or she loves me because they show it in their actions.”

Apologize – When leaders who connect screw up they apologize. Not because it is a wise tactical move but because they are genuinely sorry. Who do you have to apologize to?

Leaders do the hard work of connecting with people. They know that leadership is all about relationships. They love their people and this comes our in everything they do.

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