I have spent about half my professional life in the private sector and half in the public sector, but no matter what the leadership position I have, one key to success is pouring yourself into your people.
Leadership really is about followership — if you don’t have followers, you’re not leading. I’ve been leading people and programs for 29 years and I always ask myself the same question: Who would I follow and why? The best leaders I have had are the ones who have taken the time to pour themselves into me. You know, the ones who actually care about me professionally and personally and see me not as just a cog in the machine, but as someone to grow, challenge, and inspire. That’s the type of leader I will follow and it’s the type of leader I want to be so others follow me.
Leadership Means Sacrifice
You must be willing to sacrifice your time, your energy, and sometimes your patience as you teach, mentor, and inspire your employees. From a business perspective, you will maximize their potential and increase productivity while decreasing friction. From a leadership perspective, you will inspire loyalty and employees who will walk through fire for you.
I tell my staff that our job is to change people’s lives and we do it by caring deeply about the veterans we serve. My job as the boss is the care deeply about my staff and change their lives by pouring myself into them so they can reach their professional and personal potential.