I often hear people say, “Oh, I am not a leader yet.” Then, I promptly stop them in their tracks to let them know that everyone leads someone, whether with or without a manager title. Leading has a lot less to do with a title and more to do with the impact we have on those in our presence. When I wrote my book, The Art of Caring Leadership, it was meant for anyone who considers themselves a leader, not just those who hold the title. For me, Caring Leadership Includes Everyone!
Our Caring Leadership Ecosystem
My team and I just launched a movement that is bigger than a book, a website, a forum, and an assessment. Words that have circled around to define it are: ecosystem, universe, world. And while I love what my brain child turned out to be—an ecosystem of Caring Leadership—this ecosystem is not mutually exclusive. It does not exist apart from our world. It is in the world, because it is in each and every one of you. Yes, that’s right! Even if you don’t have a title, even if you don’t have a job, you are called to be a Caring Leader, and I created an ecosystem to support you through this lifelong mission.
Everyone that walks this planet influences those around them. Leadership really is influence. Therefore, we are all called to lead, some in big ways and some in very small ways. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, you are still welcome to join me and other Caring-Leaders-In-Development on this journey to express care more often.
We all walk through our lives interacting with people day in and day out. We lead in our homes, communities, places of worship, etc. Do our interactions reflect the nine Caring Leadership Behaviors? When we walk away from someone, do we leave them feeling uplifted and encouraged? Do we show compassion towards others?
Everyone has to lead themselves first, before having greater influence. Which brings me to the first step in any Caring Leadership journey, even one that doesn’t begin with a title.
Essentially every person has to lead themself through life. We are taught to learn who we are, understand how we function. We try to grow in tune with our emotions and learn how to react to our passions. We are taught to meet our needs first—self-sufficiency, surviving on an airplane when the oxygen masks drop, filling our cups before we can fill others.
You may have heard the expression “Treat yourself,” it’s an all too popular trend. And while like most trends, it can be exaggerated, at the core of this expression there is a truth– take care of and be kind to yourself before you can expect to do the same of another.
Belonging (at Work)
Caring Leadership behaviors extend beyond the workplace. You should make your employees feel like they belong at work, but you should strive to make anyone you interact with feel as though they belong too. In safe and common situations, try to connect beyond the surface, especially if it is with someone you come into contact with frequently. Seek to leave everyone you encounter better than how you met them.
Whole Person Leadership
Whole Person Leadership Is taking into consideration the mind, body, spirit, emotions and identities of every person inside and outside of work. Everyone desires to be accepted. It’s one of our first instincts as human beings, we don’t want to be caste aside or ignored. So let’s make sure we extend a welcoming invitation to everyone we encounter, letting them know they can be comfortable being their full-selves. Because regardless of our opinions or differing views and beliefs, everyone deserves compassion as their truest selves.
The other six Caring Leadership behaviors extend to life outside the workplace as well. If you are interested in learning more and still hesitant about beginning this journey, remember, it’s not the title you hold that determines whether you should be on this journey. Join our open and caring community of leaders in development at www.caringleadership.co.