In this 21 part series, based on John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I’m taking you on a journey towards better leadership. I share with you my own leadership lessons and insights. As a John Maxwell Team Member I’ll be happy to deliver transformational leadership training for your team or organization. See the details below.
Part 5 of 21: The Law of Addition
The Law of Addition: Leaders add value by serving others. ~ John C. Maxwell
I grew up in a communist country. Since the fall of communism, I’ve seen people hungry for power, and unwilling to let go of their positions. I’ve seen so-called-leaders misuse power, cheat, lie and oppress others to stay on top. This is a great example of acting contrary to the law of addition.
These leaders in my country were low-level leaders. They had positions, maybe even formal recognition, but they did not act like leaders. Those leaders lived for themselves only and I doubt that they were able to find satisfaction in that. These types of leaders are not exclusive to my home country. You will find them in every country, company and organization, even households, around the world.
The type of leadership we are discussing in this series is high-level leadership. This is the level you want to reach or at least grow towards.
High-level leaders understand the value of an individual, and they see the importance of a team. They know that if they are successful, the people around them are to thank. They are willing to invest in their people.Great leaders are willing to invest in their people. Click To Tweet
When I started my non-profit organization back in 2002, I was looking into the different options of growing and building a team. I couldn’t afford hiring paid staff to get the work done, but I knew that I couldn’t do it all by myself. I needed help. The benefits of running a nonprofit organization in the Western world is that you can get volunteers who will help you. In my country volunteering was unheard of. Everybody cared about themselves back then. (NOTE: I’m referring to the first decade of the 21st century. The situation may have changed since then.)
Fortunately for us, the government had started a great project where those with unemployment had the opportunity to get involved in community work and in return, would receive a bonus on their social assistance. We hand-picked our people. And we treated them well. We trained them, we taught them skills, we treated them with respect. We knew them by name, we knew their families and struggles, we invested in them and their growth.
One of the negatives of this approach was that our ‘volunteers’ were finding new jobs faster than anybody else. Yet, this was wonderful for them and we celebrated and encouraged them on their new journeys.
But there were also positives for our organization. The government agencies started to send us their best people under unemployment. All of our past volunteers talked highly about our organization, so everybody wanted to work with us. After our volunteers got jobs, they became our supporters. When you invest in your people, it comes back in one way or another. If you are only concerned about yourself, you your people will not give you their best.
Let’s have a quick look at how you can add value to people.
1. Truly value others
As a leader you truly need to value others. Show your appreciation and interest; greet people, take a couple of minutes out of your busy calendar to stop by and pour into them. Understand that people are valuable no matter what their position or income is. Care about them, and show them that you care.
2. Make yourself more valuable to others
The whole idea of adding value to people is that you have something of value to give. What do you have? What skill, expertise, strengths do you bring to the table? What can you teach or share? And where do you need to improve to become even more valuable to those who follow you?
3. Know and relate to what others value
I have worked with small and large teams. The largest was over 200 people. If I was to zoom in on one thing that has always made a difference, this would be it: All of your strategies, tactics or techniques are nothing if you won’t take the time to stop and listen to the people that you want to lead. You need to pay attention to what they value, what motivates them, what keeps them going and what stops them. When you connect with your team on this level, you WILL win their hearts. Heart to heart connections are stronger and last longer. Don’t lead people from a position of authority. Truly connect with them and get to understand them.Don't lead others from position of authority. Connect with them! Click To Tweet
4. Do things that God values
You might want to skip this point, but for me it’s non-negotiable. God reminds us to have servant hearts, to go the extra mile and care for others. The Bible is full of examples of how to add value to others. I remember when I first read the Bible as a teenager, I was amazed. Jesus was full of compassion, and reminded us to follow his example. His example is what led me to many places I wouldn’t think of going. Helping those I naturally wouldn’t help. Choose to live at a higher standard and you will never run out of things to do.
I called this law, the second mile principle. This is a biblical principle that basically urges you to go above and beyond what’s expected. If you choose to align your life with this principle, you will notice the difference in people around you. The whole office atmosphere will change, people will enjoy their work more and productivity will increase. This is the power of the law of addition.
This article is part of a 21-part leadership series.
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To your success,
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