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As a leader, do you add value to those you lead?

What have you done well as a leader in the past 12 months? Where have you stumbled? Take a close look around you. Are the people you lead more competent and confident now than they were a year ago? Have you made every possible effort to add value to their lives?

If not, or if you still have room to improve in this area, don't get discouraged. You can begin adding value to the people around you by using three tools every leader possesses—your head, your heart and your hands.
  1. The leader's head. Understand people. An important quality of a relational leader is the ability to understand how people feel and think. For example, many of the people in your sphere of influence are insecure.

    If you're a confident person yourself, you may have never considered this. But it's a truth that every leader needs to recognize. This realization was life-changing for me as a communicator.

    When I learned that as many as 90 percent of the people to whom I spoke struggled with insecurity, I made it my goal to speak confidence into their lives.

    I wanted to empower people to move forward, to take a risk, to find success, to give it one more shot. So I began to make sure my words fostered confidence, not doubt.

    You might not speak to large audiences regularly, but you talk to people every day who are in desperate need of a confidence boost. So how do you go about giving them one? That's easier than it may seem.

    People like to feel special, so sincerely compliment them. They want a better tomorrow, so show them hope. They lack direction, so navigate for them. They get low emotionally, so encourage them.

    They want success, so help them win. The more you build their confidence, the more they'll be able to achieve on their own.

  2. The leader's heart. Love people. You cannot truly be an effective leader—the kind people want to follow—unless you love people. I'm not talking about a touchy-feely, emotional kind of love—not everyone operates that way.

    I'm talking about a genuine compassion and caring that comes from the heart—a way of relating that shows people you believe in them, you want the best for them and you're pulling for them to succeed.

    If you truly love your people like this, you can't help but add value to their lives—probably in more ways than you might think.

  3. The leader's hand. Help people. It might seem obvious that one of your jobs as a leader is to help people. But if your head and heart are not working properly, your hand will never perform as it should. Let me explain.

    If you don't understand people (the leader's head), you can't help them. If you don't love people (the leader's heart), you won't help them. That's a sad place for a leader to be, but unfortunately, it's all too common.

    To avoid this dangerous leadership trap, make sure your head and heart are functioning correctly. Only then will you be able to give your people the kind of help they need and deserve. Only then will you truly be able to bring out the best in the people around you.
This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's
free monthly e-newsletter: Leadership Wired
available at

Author Biography

John C. Maxwell
Web site: Injoy Group
John Maxwell grew up in the 1950s in the small Midwestern city of Circleville, Ohio. John's earliest childhood memory is of knowing that he would someday be a pastor. He professed faith in Christ at the age of three, and reaffirmed that commitment when he was 13. At age 17, John began preparing for the ministry. He attended Circleville Bible College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1969. In June of that same year, he married his sweetheart, Margaret, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, where he began his first pastorate.

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