[September 15, 2019] In the past, I’ve written about the importance of caring for your people (e.g., articles here and here). What this means is that a great leader can reach the souls of others and doing so matters more than any technological advancement, money, or strategy. Win their hearts and you will win the battle.
“As an officer, you need to win only one battle – for the hearts of your troops. Win their hearts and they will win the fights.” – U.S. Marine Corps General Jim Mattis
Much is written about leadership and how difficult it can be. While that is true, what proven leaders find most challenging is perhaps not what we might expect. The first step any experienced leader will take is to build trust and confidence.1 That way, they have followers who are loyal, dedicated, and motivated. That is how great leaders get the job done.
Money, prestige, and comfort are unimportant to those who have their souls captured by leaders. These leaders are rare. If you are looking for someone to lead your team and you happen to find one, grab them immediately even if you don’t have a position for them to fill today. Do what it takes to keep them but remember they are not motivated by tangible things like a corner office or title but by those around them. They draw energy from others and return it tenfold.
The question is, HOW do they capture the soul of others? There are, of course, as many paths to this as there are leaders. One path is through competence, caring, and conviction. A leader who can show that he knows what he is doing demonstrates a real caring for his people and that the leader will stand up for them (and what you won’t stand for). Such a leader can properly capture their hearts.
A few years ago, while in South Korea, I worked for an exemplary U.S. Army Lieutenant General. He was able to simply the most complex and difficult mission, discussing it in plain English we all could understand. More significantly, he could grasp what we all wanted and seemed to make us all feel important. We were drawn to him by some force that is hard to describe. He is one of the few I ever met with the capability to capture our most inner being.
The greatest of great, the most beautiful of things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart and the soul. When a leader can touch that, he is truly great.
- This was so important for me that it was the second article I published on the Characteristics of a Leader: https://www.theleadermaker.com/characteristic-2-building-trust-and-confidence/