The Every Day Leader: PEOPLE over Tasks

I drove down the long dirt road and I looked at the farms along the way, such a peaceful setting, so calming, this will always be home.

To me a farm is the most beautiful setting that I know…yet, I also know that it means chores that have to be done each day, whether you feel good or not or even if you feel like it or not.

I remember the quiet, with an occasional interruption by the sound of the mourning dove singing it’s song. The farm provided such safety to me as a child, what I remember most was that life was simpler back then.

There was work, but there was fun. We also had time for fun when the neighbor stopped by or it was time to gather as a family. As I grew older I learned that sharing and working together was more than just sharing my dolls and playing house. It meant sharing a car, combining trips into town to save on gas, it meant helping out when needed. What I really learned was what mattered most…

people

People matter to every day leaders. They matter more than things or money or our jobs. Today we have many things competing for our attention, many things competing for that first spot of what matters most in our lives.

What are you choosing?

Are you more concerned about what house you live in, what clothes you are wearing, what status you have with your job?

I don’t want to just be busy. I long for the simple life where people are what matters.

Every day leaders intentionally choose. They choose how to spend their time instead of just being busy. They choose people over tasks knowing that life should never be to busy to not invest in another.

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The Every Day Leader: Thinking of Others

She pulled at my hand begging me to come out to the porch.  As we walked outside my sweet little four-year granddaughter had given me a gift.  Not just any gift, but a gift of her expression of love.  She had picked some flowers from the garden and carefully lined them up on the porch to look “beautiful” for me. 

This was a simple expression of thoughtfulness and love through the eyes of a four-year old.

 

I smile as I think of that gift. I smile because it was done in love. I smile because she was thinking of me and I smile because I felt loved.

Each of us needs those kind of gifts.  Each of us have the ability to give those kinds of gifts to others.  These are simple expressions that show we care about those around us.  They don’t have to cost us much, sometimes just time and effort and making the choice to do it.

Thoughtfulness takes time.  It starts with getting to know those around you.  Each of us have someone in our life that we, as everyday leaders, have been entrusted to influence.

Whose life are you influencing right now?

Have you taken the time to get to know those people, not just on a name basis, but really know them?  If we take the time to learn about those around us, we gain new insights into them and their lives. We hear what they are dreaming about, we hear what they struggling with, sometimes we simply offer the gift of much-needed laughter.  If we are intentional we have the opportunity to learn so much more than just a simple good morning and how are you!  Even in our personal lives with our own family members, how often do we get so busy that we don’t know what is really going with them or what they are thinking?

What about those that you work with or that work for you?  How much do  you know about them?  How about our neighbors?

When was the last time you took time for a cup of coffee to check on a friend?  Are you the leader of a group?  How much more would those who work for you thrive if you took time to invest in them?

Simple ways to express you care and show others that you value them:

  •  A simple  phone call
  • Send a card
  • Meet for coffee
  • Schedule a lunch
  • Help them accomplish a dream
  • Surprise them with something they would never do for themselves but would love to do
  • Practice active listening

For those who are team leaders or managers, here are some ways to show you value those who work for you:

  • Keep an open door so people know you are approachable
  • Take time to say hello to each person in the morning
  • Surprise them with them with something thoughtful
  • Write a thank you card and express your gratitude for their hard work

We all need to know that others care about us.

Today, think of those in your life that you touch.  Maybe there is someone you have meant to reach out to but simply haven’t taken the time.  Don’t let another day pass, take the time today to do something thoughtful.

Be thoughtful.  Value another.  It is an intentional way of life that can truly make a difference!

Everyday leaders.  Living a Life of Intention.  Giving the gift of thoughtfulness.

The Everyday Leader: Being in the right place

I planted ivy on a hill in my front yard several years ago.  It wasn’t the first thing I had tried.  Every other thing planted just did not make it and the dirt  would wash away each time there was a hard rain.  While it has taken some time, the ivy has now taken off.  In fact, it seems I just go out and trim it, and it creeps up on the porch.  It is incredible!

The ivy thrives where it is.  In fact, it is so thick now; soil washing away is never a problem anymore.  It is amazing when you have the right plant in the right place what happens.  In many ways, it is a lot like people.  When we are in the right place we thrive.  When we have the right people on our team our team is more likely to be successful. 

Just like the ivy, even if you are in the right place but the conditions are not right it is hard to thrive.  We eventually will burn or die out.  It is essential that we provide the right environment for our volunteers and staff.   Being an intentional leader means taking a hard look to see if you are in the right place.  Is it a good fit?  Are you in an environment that provides all that you need?  Are you doing your part to cultivate that environment?

What about the people you are responsible for?  Do you have the right people in the right place?  If not, what do you need to do to get them there?  What about the conditions they are working or serving in?  Are you intentionally taking the time to make sure it is a positive environment?  Is it a place where they can continue to learn?  Are you as a team working together or is everyone doing their own thing?  Do they feel safe to be themselves, to grow, to learn, to make a mistake? 

No matter what we are doing, whether we work alone or in a group, it is essential to be in the right place with the proper support, care  and healthy conditions we need to flourish…no different than the ivy.

The everyday leader intentionally looks at the details, even when we are busy.  We take the time to evaluate, to make the changes when necessary. 

It means being intentional to have the right person in the right place.

It means being intentional to be the leader our people need us to be.

I want to be that everyday leader.   Willing to be intentional.

 

The Every Day Leader: The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of who we are, the message is the same no matter where we live, the color of our skin, our backgrounds, our social standing, or our financial standing. We as humans really want to know from the rest of the world and from those around us:

Do we matter?

Does someone care about us?

This simple yet profound point was driven home to me not to long ago when I recently helped one of our clients. This gentleman comes to seek our assistance at least once a week. While it’s a struggle for him to get out of the car,  he still comes. He comes not necessarily for what we have to offer in material things, but he comes seeking the companionship, to be acknowledged, and to know that someone cares about him. I have seen the loneliness in his eyes; I know he has no family and no real friends. I have heard him wonder out loud if God has abandoned him.  He is no different from many others I have known over the years.  Does my life count?  Does anyone care?  Where is God anyway?

If as business owners, nonprofit directors, and leaders what if we intentionally made an effort to do everything with this message that people do matter?  If we truly lived and lead like this, would our lives and those around us look differently?  Would our businesses or organizations look differently?

People matter more than:

 Tasks

Processes

Life issues

The high stresses of the job

The deadlines

 

As leaders we don’t have the choice to say that I will put people first WHEN the business is successful or the organization has reached its goals.   We have to decide in the beginning that people matter, that they matter more than anything we will do in this life. When we choose to put that kind of emphasis on people and relationships we will soon see that it is in those moments that our own lives begin to take on a whole new meaning.

The little things we do today can and will leave a lasting impact…

 May we NEVER forget that EVERY MOMENT matters!