Photo by Gerry Cherry on Unsplash

Love is one of the overarching themes of leadership. A proven fact is the most effective leaders love the people they lead.

But for most leaders, that initial threshold is a hard one to pass. Unseasoned leaders want to lead through a display of power or superior competence. It takes a special kind of confidence to know such techniques are counter productive.

But it is in that context a leader discovers true caring is providing accountability and clear feedback to the team. “Exemplary leadership is soft and demanding, caring and conscientious,” write Barry Posner and James Kouzes in their essay ‘When Leaders Are Coaches.’ “Having a clear expectation of what people will achieve is part and parcel of being caring.”

The wise king who wrote Proverbs exemplified this when he gave illustrative descriptions to his son of what not to do.

Although some might say a good leader would let his team “figure it all out on their own,”  the king used a story to show his son what failure and foolishness looked like. “For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths,  a young man lacking sense…” (Proverbs 7:6-7)

The king showed wisdom and love to his son by pointing to foolish conduct of the simple youth and saying “don’t do that.” By teaching this way, the king shows us the upside down business idea: Giving clarity of direction is caring for your team.

Making it clear what not to do is as valuable as making it clear what to do. Telling a good story is one of the best ways to accomplish this. 

This isn’t a directive to micromanage. It’s a principle that excellent communication makes excellent teams. And excellent teams need clear and relevant direction on goals. Don’t limit communication to the what of the goal, but also include the how and the why

You will build trust and have better success.

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