What Makes Leaders Matter More
Leaders don’t matter until they do what matters. Intrinsic human worth and the value of a leader are separate issues.
You don’t matter when you do what doesn’t matter.
Doing what matters:
The people who ultimately know what matters are the people you serve, customers. The more you please customers the more you matter.
Without customers you don’t matter.
The more value you bring the more valuable you are.
Others to please include:
People-pleasing isn’t leadership. Never sacrifice values, ethics, passion, or your talent. Don’t lose yourself to please others. But, leaders matter when they do what matters and, ultimately, others determine what matters.
Doing more of what matters:
- Identify your customer and the people you serve.
- Ask the people you serve if it matters. You think you know what matters but you don’t. You judge what matters by what matters to you. I asked one person what mattered to them and they said, “Public affirmation.”
- Stop doing what doesn’t matter. The need to be busy dilutes the worth of a leader. Ask yourself, “Would anyone notice if I stopped doing this?”
- Don’t do what others can do.
- Increase the time you spend with people. Lower the time you spend with computers and paper.
- Meet a need, the bigger the better.
- Focus. Rabbit chasing is fun but it makes you matter less.
- Prioritize time by spending more of it with a select few, 8 to 12. Who do you need to spend more time with?
- Instill confidence in others to the point that they take action without asking permission.
- Get stuff done. Every meeting that ends without action items makes you matter less.
Leaders matter more when they do more of what matters.
What makes this post uncomfortable?
How can leaders matter more?
Well Dan u were on a roll but this one, right in the ditch.
I will share in my world what matters….words!!!
People, Tar Heels basketball, milk duds, curb your enthusiasm, laughter, love!
Anyways use of the word matter here is a dead bang loser in this context for me.
Thing is I think I get where you were going. Just the exact words you used did not convey that to me is all.
So to make this palatable everywhere I saw “matters” I substituted “effective”.
Bottom line we all matter, God don’t make no stinking no mattering stuff!!! Does she? Really?
So now we got that straight working towards being more effective???
Easy…..said it before and it never changes. Get my own house in order!
When that happens this energy system I am living in puts off a most attracting vibration.
Folks feel it not always understanding, they just get a good feeling from ya!!!
Yea good vibrations are cool!! Google 528mz!!! That sound is really cool!!!
Just how I sees it, you want an honest response or all gaga if it really don’t feel that way?
SP back to good vibrations now!!!
Now I know why your comments are so long. You believe words matter so, I suppose, the more words you use, the more you matter. 🙂
Words without action are meaningless.
Well not exactly. What matters to me is the words one uses accurately displays what the writer truly believes. No matter the length of their statements.
In my world we were all created equal and nothing has changed but we have aged.
Eachness in the allness of God, our reality. One isn’t more if they do more, they just do more. Activity does not change ones nature.
SP back to the present
Great post! Leaders matter! The phrase, “Leaders matter more when they do more of what matters.”, really speaks to me.
It’s a wake up call for me to be sure I’m doing stuff that matters and not just busy work.
Absolutely love this post! For me it’s more rewarding as a leader to add significance to others than to be significant! Leadership is about getting curious enough about others to find out what they want, our customers etc. As a consultant I NEVER send out a one size fits all proposal. I want to tailor make something to the client that is meaningful, life changing and sustainable when I’m gone. As a leader you matter more when you make people matter more. Thanks so much for this post. Good food for thought!
I like how you are emphasizing one size DOESN’T fit all. When it comes to people it’s important to remember that. I’ll add it’s important to remember that “they” aren’t “me,” too
Really appreciate your post. All the accolades, plague’s,and ahievements in ones personal life shy in comparison to the satifaction one gets from having a positive influence in anothers life. The scary thing is though, often times we don’t realize when others are watching us. Every interaction with our fellow man provides opportunities to leave lasting impressions, question is, will we leave others with a good impression, or a bad one? “Thanks”
You ask what makes this post uncomfortable- I am struggling with the notion tht what matters to certain others is what matters-
What matters to others is clearly important, but ought it define what matters? Don’t great leaders help people see what matters- in ways that may differ from what they were initially valuing – take slavery for example- it took great leadership ( Lincoln and others) to help change what mattered in America.
Interested in your thoughts- perhaps I am missing something.
As I wrote this post, I thought about great artists who ignore “the crowd” or the concept of standing by your guns when others disagree.
I wondered about learning to disagree in a pleasing ways, if possible.
I can’t escape the premise that creating customers is the goal of business. And in order to create customers we need to know what pleases them.
Another idea is that pleasing the wrong people always takes us in the wrong direction.
I don’t think you are missing something. I think the post is missing something but I’m not able to articulate what that is.
The struggle with pleasing others and being true to ourselves is another concern.
But lets be honest, if you don’t please your boss, you don’t matter, from an organizational point of view because eventual you won’t be with the organization.
I’m uncomfortable with the language “Pleasing the boss” but I can’t find a better or more provocative way to say it.
thanks for you thoughts
Maybe we need to distinguish pleasing others as a by product and as a goal.
A leader that is effective and successful at helping to identify and serve stakeholder needs, will likely please those stakeholders
But sometimes stakeholders ( internal or external) are unscrupulous or misguided. In such cases a leader needs to have the courage to say no- and even leave the organization.
My concern about ‘pleasing’ the boss, or other stakeholder as a goal, rather than byproduct is that it can lead to a slippery slops on which, principles can be set aside in favor of misguided or even immoral actions.
It may be a subtle nuance, or extreme and improbable, but I’d prefer to think of leaders as helping to identify and serve stakeholder needs, rather than pleasing stakeholders.
I think that’s what you were driving at I. Your post as well. Does that make sense?
It seems both are correct, but in different amounts at different times. I tend to get the most out of reading lots of posts over time, as Dan will explore opposite ends of the same challenge on different days. To find a good balance for a given situation, it helps to study the two opposing forces at work. 🙂
Like this post Dan. Leadership is not a title. It’s an attitude in action. True leaders consistantly exhibit positive behaviors in every area of thier lives, community, work, Church, and family. They may not have the answers, or the time, but they take the time and make themselves availiable. In nthe midst of a low point in my personal life, I was startled when a close freind knocked on my door at (10:00 PM)! My freind said he felt I needed someone to talk to and was compelled to do so regardless of the time of day. We sat and talked, he listened, till the wee hours of the morning. Why did he do this, because I was in need. Even though he did not know what to say or do, he knew I needed his help and answered the call. We don’t always know the struggles of others, nor do we have the answers. But our creator put us on this earth to be there for one another. The question we need ask ourselves is, “are we as leaders there for our people when they really need us, (especially when it’s inconvienient)”? Cheers my freind…
Thanks SGT Steven,
It’s an honor to read part of your story and be challenged with inconvenient leadership.
It’s so true, serving others is seldom easy and often inconvenient.
This is so true! As a PR student I think this could help me with my clients, or with people, organizations etc period. this quote “Never sacrifice values, ethics, passion, or your talent. Don’t lose yourself to please others.” I liked. It just stood out to me and its so true
Every sales person and marketing person knows this is true. I think the rest of us need to more fully embrace this idea.
I think finding alignment with our own values and the values of others is the sweet spot of pleasing others.
You wrote, “Words without action are meaningless.”
I thought that bit through.
Words can inspire, uplift, encourage… or denigrate, depress, discourage.
Resulting actions can include both internal and external performances, e.g., a change of attitude (internal action), or a change of scene (an external one).
Sometimes it’s hard to know when words will ultimately become matter (visible action), but I think it is probably good to consider them matter in a different form. They are the liquid that was thought vapor and can become solid action.
With alignment of giver and receiver and words, the words can precipitate things that matter and are matter. 😉
The response, and the response–ability to words is a choice (though not always fully conscious) of the receiver.
Leaders do well to use care in noticing tendencies and human nature in how words are received. Different people read different meanings/mental models into the same collection of words. Leaders can matter in negative way when they are careless with their communication… sending conflicting signals and creating perverse incentive.
I agree with you that words without action are meaningless, but it is perhaps rare when words from a leader don’t result in some new action/reaction—now, or somewhere down the road. Even words “just to hear ourselves” produce action… often avoidance, LOL.
Therefore, I humbly suggest that we become more conscious of the words we say to ourselves and others. The actions we save, could be our own.
Thanks for your post and for your response to Scott, which both got me thinking, and inspired the action of this response. 😉
I particularly appreciate, “words can precipitate things that matter and are matter.” Clever 🙂
You message that we become more conscious of our words speaks to the power of words. Much appreciated.
“People pleasing is not a leadership” is a powerful statement. But, generally people perceive this as a leadership and hence engage into such practices. They learn such skills by their superiors or the people who reach higher by doing such practices. And reaching to the top is better considered as being at leadership position.This is the different concept altogether where people feel leader after getting position. But the reality is different, leadership is not about getting position but about helping others to get that position as well. In the organization, people are more concerned about their success and about other, which is actually not leadership.
So, when people want comfort, they are not following leadership path. It means, leadership is about loving un-comfort which has potential and intention to lift, help and raise others. Therefore, the key is to embrace uncomfort by accepting and believing the positive impact. And I think, this is a real leadership in true sense.
I always get nuggets of gold from your posts and this was no exception. Not being in a official leadership position I do get to experience the good, the bad & downright ugly. It was after reading Lori’s comment and your reply I re-read the list and saw bosses. In the ideal world in which I do Not currently live in those in leadership would be leading and role modeling good stewardship. Pleasing my current supervisor is an enigma so I simply watch my back, read you and others to learn What good leadership looks like and put it to practice to lead myself out of what I do not want. So again Thank You!
Reblogged this on Lead Me On and commented:
Here’s a leadership paradox if I ever read one — what matters more, what we do or who we are? In leadership theory, it’s expressed in the classic management vs. leadership split, a false distinction but a long standing one. You can’t really deny the truth of this practical advice — “Leaders don’t matter until they do what matters.” And I love the list of suggestions for doing more of what matters, including answering the question, “Who do I need to spend more time with?” I guess I would add, “Do your inner work – don’t avoid this important doing that helps you be more present in your doing! (Forgive the maze phrase!) And a codicil — don’t let doing your inner work get in the way of your leadership responsibilities! Where my thinking intersects with this post is that leadership is about relationships — and all action has to proceed from that place in order to matter!
An interesting post with good messages!
True leaders always look for the welfare of people while working on organization goals. But, they are very few in number and one needs to be lucky to find them at work places, in particular. The experience says that many are self-centered and work more towards their personal interest/goals at the cost of people and their aspirations..Much is dependent on the organization work culture and the top management’s philosophy in shaping the leaders with their working styles.
Great message. Doing more of what matters is important, and people matter more than tasks. Not that many tasks don’t need to be completed, but it should not be priority to the people in which we serve.
I totally agree with your post. Your 10 items are so true and it´s good to remind some of them regularly.
“Install confidence in others…” : that is what i’m trying to do with my team. It’s difficult because people are not used to it. But when you succeed, your team achieve incredible things. And that´s what matters.
Reblogged this on Jeff Williams and commented:
The first few paragraphs hit the mark with me. That’s the issue most struggling leaders face. Fnding that place, time and culture where it all comes together
Nice post !
Love this post! I especially like the last sentence: “Get stuff done. Every meeting that ends without action items makes you matter less”
Thanks for another great post. After a conversation in our management meeting the other day about how people want to do something that matters in their job, this was a great follow-up. I will be using it with my HR Manager and Employee Development Manager to make sure we have these thoughts in mind as we develop plans to meet our newly written vision statements. In fact, maybe we will tweak them a bit.
This is true. A leader is not a leader until he/she has followers. You establish followers by spending time with people and connecting with them. When you connect with them, then you have trust and things will fall into place
I hope you don’t mind, but I edited one of your thoughts and posted the following comment on a blog I follow about parenting: http://mommyverbs.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/choose-opportunity-costs-of-being-a-mom/#comment-1893
“Do what matters more.
The following paragraph was based on post by the Leadership Freak. I have edited the post on leadership and substituted a few key words to make it applicable to parenting. I thought the parallel was compelling. http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/what-makes-leaders-matter-more/
People-pleasing isn’t parenting. Never sacrifice values, ethics, passion, or your talent. Don’t lose yourself to please others. But, parents matter when they do what matters and, ultimately, our family determines what matters.”