The heart of a shepherd
Just as a shepherd has to steer his flock, keep them together, ensure that the pastures are good for nutrition and free from predators, ensuring that they are protected at all times in wanting them to produce quality wool and meat, the same would apply to any leader of a group of people that are under his/her wing to achieve optimal productivity.
What do you think is the most important task as a leader?
Is it to define the goals of an organisation, increase revenue, and outline strategies?
If you answered yes, then I would have to disagree, as the most important role is for leaders to bring out the best in their employees and the rest will follow − for people are the competitive advantage.
In the evolving times that we are currently living in, where technology and humanity are working together to create successful businesses, a leader is one who has to do more than just listen to their employees. One needs to embrace and reinforce this new wave within the culture of an organisation that ‘leaders are key in shaping the culture of an organisation’.
In order to bring out the best in every employee that is under the wing of a leader, there are key factors that must become a part of his or her belief system:
- He/she must ensure that the environment is conducive to allowing the employee to flourish.
- Every leader should realise that it is of paramount importance that their people do not function out of fear in a working environment, as this would stifle creativity, innovation and thinking.
I am sure the question that must be lingering is ‘how does one achieve this’?
Well, it is pretty simple and it has to do with something we all already possess but have shied away from using, our hearts.
How often have you heard people saying ‘I have put my heart into this project’, automatically expecting the project to be a success. However, not so often have we heard leaders saying in relation to their people, ’I have put my heart into investing in this person’. Leaders have been so focused on projects that they have failed to focus on the people who will be responsible for the outcomes of these projects.
If you want trust and loyalty from the people you employ, you need to stand out as a loyal and trustworthy leader.
Mistakes should not provide leaders an avenue to display punitive measures or authority. It should be used as a teaching opportunity to avoid a repetition. In correcting a team, they should not feel threatened but rather protected.
People have often displayed a strong desire for investment in material possessions. However, the best investment that one can make is in people, as with this investment you are bound to receive the highest return.
We as leaders often emphasise the importance of being passionate in whatever one does. We sometimes focus so much on the symptoms that we forget the cause of the illness. As leaders we should remember that passion stems from the heart. So, develop hearts.