Caring about people and their needs is essential to leading them.  Being able to empathize with their situation, listening to their needs, and wanting the best for them are all keys that will propel you to success as a leader.

In order to succeed as a leader, we must put our interests behind those of the people we serve.

If you are focused on your needs and wants, you will not have the ability to empathize with others or to connect in meaningful ways.

I have coached many leaders at the executive and managerial levels.  The number of leaders who state that they wish they had more time to mentor, train and empower their team members is huge.  They are focused on getting their projects done, and successfully running their organization.  What they fail to realize is that leading requires us to mentor, train, and empower our team members so they can accomplish the needed goals and strategies for success.

There is pride in doing a good job and knowing that you have accomplished a lot of tasks.  Many people love the ability to check off tasks on their list.  However, that keeps leaders from succeeding and inspiring the people they lead.  Great leaders resist the urge to personally be out front and instead encourage team members to step into the limelight.

How much time are you spending with your team members?  Could you identify their needs and goals?  When was the last time you talked with your team, not about a task but to gain their insights and to hear their ideas?  We tend to put this in reverse.  How do you change your approach to leadership?

First, begin by delegating more of your tasks to others.  This provides a great opportunity for you to mentor them and commit to their growth.  Next, ask questions and probe to learn more about what motivates them and their personal goals.  Just starting with these two action steps will go far to ensure that you are leading!