The Leaders' Corner

Leadership By Heart

BY: Lyn Calderon • May 29, 2017

Three Important Qualities of a Leader

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – John Rohn

It has always been said that we must put our hearts on everything that we do. For the heart represents compassion and it is an important attribute of a good leader. It allows the leader to gain the willing obedience of his people. Effective leadership bears great positive outcomes. It is for this reason that I share with you what I believe as the three most important qualities of a leader.

1. Empathy

Empathy is an effective tool in dealing with some of the challenges in the workplace. It affords us to have a glimpse of the situation and perspective of the person challenged with problems. Empathy manifests understanding and the willingness to help and it establishes connection that allows effective communication with the affected person.

I can still recall the positive relationships established when I was handling negotiations as Head of Management Panel with the company labor union for collective bargaining agreements (CBA). I could readily say that those negotiations were concluded based on positive interactions simply because the labor union representatives felt I empathized with them and they realized the need to strike a good balance between the interests of the company and the labor union. These situations acquired the full support and cooperation of the workforce.

Empathy allows us to feel the sentiments of the people we work with. The realization of the co-worker’s sentiments provides opportunity to bridge probable gaps caused by social or technological dynamics. We touch people’s hearts when we empathize with them so let us get connected through our hearts.

2. Respect

I worked in the corporate world for almost thirty-seven years and it broadened my understanding of respect beyond the simple adage of ‘respect begets respect’. My broadened understanding denotes that we must respect people because it is a reflection of our own character. We will be in situations that our opinions, standards, and principles shall differ or maybe in conflict with other people but nonetheless our respect towards them must not waiver for it is concomitant with fair play. After all, respect is a human attribute that reflects how much we value ourselves through the mutual value that we are willing to extend to our fellowmen.

3. Passion

Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’. This is very true albeit sometimes circumstances limit our options to choose. This is highlighted in a situation of a fresh college graduate whose primary consideration is to find a job for basic sustenance. I drew inspiration from Confucius but address this situation by my very own quote, ‘Love what you do and you will never work a day in you life’. This worked for me. I am an accountant by profession and accounting by its constant functions is definitely not that exciting job. I initiated measures to add zest and perks in my daily functions that made me look forward to the challenges and new experiences. These zest and perks were composed of continually evolving improvement of processes, ownership of functions and responsibilities, reaching out to people even outside my own department, and simply loving the day and work I need to do. Oliver Cromwell sums up passion when he said, ‘Not only strike while the iron is hot but make it hot by striking

These are just a few of the top qualities people look for in a leader.  I validated these from great leaders I had worked with. They became my friends and inspirations due to the shared passion and love for what we do.

Let me leave you for now with a W.O.W!  Words of Wisdom from my favorite leadership guru John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

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