I like me best when I am with you
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2018 - 12:00am

As a part of an assignment for a doctoral thesis, a college student spent a year with a group of Navajo Indians on a reservation in the American Southwest. As he did his research, he lived with one family, slept in their hut, ate their food, worked with them, and generally lived the life of a 20th-century Indian.

The old grandmother of the family spoke no English at all, yet a very close friendship formed between the two. They spent a great deal of time sharing a friendship that was meaningful to each other, yet unexplainable to anyone else. In spite of the language difference, they shared the common language of love and understood each other.

Over the months, he learned a few phrases of Navajo, and she picked up a little of the English language. When it was time for him to return to the campus and write his thesis, the tribe held a going-away celebration. It was marked by sadness since the young man had become close to the whole village and all would miss him. As he prepared to get into the pickup truck and leave, the old grandmother came to tell him goodbye.  With tears streaming from her eyes, she placed her hands on either side of his face, looked directly into his eyes and said, “I like me best when I’m with you.”

What a touching moment isn’t it? Even with the old lady’s broken and grammatically challenged English you understand. “I like me best when I’m with you.”

Here’s the question now. Do you make people feel the same way when you are with them? This is the secret sauce of good leaders. If you want to inspire your team as a leader, do not make an impression by showing them how amazing you are. Instead, you inspire them by expressing how amazing they are and how more amazing they can be. That’s what good leaders do. 

Isn’t it wonderful to be working with inspiring leaders? The work may still be challenging, and the volume may still be high, but you just love working and growing with them. However, this seems to be the exception rather than the norm. There are leaders who do not know how to lead. They exasperate their people because of their rudeness and inability to lead properly. Some leaders bring joy when they are around. Others brighten up the room by leaving.

These leadership skills, when lacking, can drive good people out of the company and out of their resentment make it their mission to join the competition and vow to clobber the company not because they dislike the organization, but because they abhor their former bosses.

It looks like people skills are not taught adequately in school. There are many highly-educated people who are, likewise, the most obnoxious people you would want to avoid. Other leaders are just so full of themselves, and they talk about themselves all the time. They are the heroes in their stories who tend to grab credit from other people, which really frustrates the team. It seems that certain people with closed minds always open their mouths, but there are not much good things coming out from it in the first place. Others talk all the time and everything they say do not make sense.

This is why some wise guys said:

Light travels faster than sound. Some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

No guts, no glory, no brain, same story.

Good leaders know how to make themselves likable. They attract their people and inspire them to be better.

Here’s another thing. Physical appearances matter too, but this needs to be qualified. I have met some of the most fashionable people in the industry adorned with all of the designer accessories from head to toe, yet the moment you get to know them better, you would know that the fancy clothes are beautiful wrappers covering an ugly personality with a corrupt character. They cover up their deficiencies which shows that they are too focused on the self and that they do not care for their people.

Good leaders make others feel that they like themselves best when they are with you. Be genuinely interested in other people. Speak less, listen more, and be polite and courteous all the time. Leaders should be very firm, but they should also be very fair. Always be kind, for the end never justifies the means. Make your people like themselves when you are with them. Then, you would know that you’ve got what it takes to be a good leader.

(Attend two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop this Sept. 18 and 19 at Makati Diamond Residences near Greenbelt 1. For registration or inquiries, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

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