Yesterday I shared about the leadership book that I have been reading on relational leadership. Tonight I came across this gem on page 99,
Max De Pree says that the two primary responsibilities of a leader are to point the direction, or define reality, and to say thank you. For De Pree, leaders articulate the vision – that is, they point the direction and define the reality which shapes both the leadership relationship and the followers contributions to the organisation. He immediately recognizes, however, that the vision articulated by the leader will only be accomplished with the contributions of those followers. Thus he sees the second responsibility of leadership as saying thank you: acknowledging our dependence upon and appreciation for the followers and their personal investment in the vision.
I think its always important to regularly thank people for their contributions. A number of years ago I read a series of John Maxwell’s books on leadership as part of a class subject. One gem I took to heart was that for every criticism / rebuke you give, ensure you have given at least 10 encouragements, otherwise people will lose heart. I made it a practice to do this in my cleaning business with both my employee’s and clients, and the few times I had to bring some correction, it was well received.
Thanking people is but one side of the encouragement coin that leaders are required to have. The other is to be an observer: not just what is done wrong, or done poorly – but even more important is to observe and comment on what is done right. While its true that there will be times when butting heads will happen, those occurrences should be a rarity and not the norm.