[November 26, 2018] With the upcoming holiday season and the time of giving, I thought it appropriate to once again address the topic that real leaders create goodwill. They create it year round. The benefits are well known and it typically takes little effort to make it happen.
The benefits for a leader are straightforward. Goodwill encourages loyalty, forgiveness, credibility, and respect for the leader and the organization the leader represents. These are necessary for any group or organization to operate smoothly and with little disruption.
“Penny wise and pound foolish” – Robert Burton, English scholar at Oxford University
Leaders can create goodwill without a lot of effort. An old friend of mine says there is a high return on investment for leaders who do and it would be foolish not to create goodwill. Yet, I have personally witnessed leaders who simply refuse to create goodwill when it is cheap and easy. These folks portray Robert Burton’s quote in the extreme.
Goodwill is created by a leader who is consistent, truly cares about others, gives back, provides value, spends time with employees, makes others happy, and provides (sometimes) unexpected surprises. It might mean simply saying thank-you, wishing someone happy birthday, best wishes on the birth of a child, or offering condolences upon the death of a relative. These costs nothing but it does mean being aware of the people who follow that leader.
It is amazing what being nice will get you in life. Given the choice to be nice or a grouch, take the high road and be nice to others. There are times when all leaders must “crack the whip,” so to speak, and push people to accomplish a task or mission. However, a real leader is one who gives considerable thought to acting generously whenever possible.
A little warning is also appropriate for leaders. Popularity is not the same as generating goodwill so beware of the allure for popularity. Being popular and generating goodwill are not the same thing for leaders; although there are similarities.
Real leaders create goodwill whenever they can. They don’t create it selectively for some groups and not others. Good leadership means being a moral, ethical person at all times.
Best wishes to all my readers for the upcoming season of giving.