Real Leaders create Goodwill

By | November 26, 2018

[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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Real Leaders create Goodwill

  1. Joe the Aussie

    Good article. Thank you General Satterfield for a sage article. More should read your website.

  2. Max Foster

    Creating goodwill is, and I will emphasize the point, rather easy to do. Well … in most cases it is easy. To do so means you ‘care’ about others which is, of course, the essence of great leadership.

  3. Willie Shrumburger

    Would have thought this idea of creating goodwill was common sense. Then I read more about young folks today and their disrespect for others and lack of empathy. Now I realize that articles like this will be more common because, simply, more people of all ages and backgrounds need to have a good grounding in the idea that goodwill is easy to create and maintain.

  4. Big Al

    I spent many years as a senior consultant in a large firm where leadership was trained for and expected of everyone. This is more common than you might think. What I learned quickly was that small gestures of friendship went a long way to getting all our work done. Courtesy, remembering birthdays, etc. The little things made a huge difference.

    1. Lady Hawk

      and it is so easy to do it. That is why I don’t understand why people are not more courteous and friendly.

    2. Kenny Foster

      Thanks Big Al. I too was a senior team member and it was expected that I spread goodwill around the office. That didn’t mean I was buddy-buddy with everyone but that I took the time to compliment others, to respect them, and to listen to their concerns.

  5. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Here is the core of your article and worth repeating. “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.” We should take special note that not all leaders believe this.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Read it a few minutes ago. I liked the article. Thank you Scotty for bringing it to our attention.

  6. Drew Dill

    Gen. Sattefield, well done. Thanks for another article that made me think.

  7. Anita

    Another often overlooked topic of leadership. I found that spreading goodwill whenever possible is what the best leaders do. Why? Because there will be times leaders must be tough. When tough on others to get the work done, those who work for that leader will remember the good times too and be more acceptable.

  8. Doug Smith

    Classic quote from Robert Burton. Yes, too many overlook the fact that goodwill is often very easily created and conversely, easily lost.

  9. Army Captain

    Spreading goodwill is one of the many ‘secrets’ to being a good leader.


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