5 Keys to really knowning your people

Beyond the techniques into the heart of things

As I mentioned in another blog post, we would suggest that there are four critical aspects of Care that need to be demonstrated for the leader’s heart to become fully known. The four are Know, Connect, Provide and Protect. Let’s look at the first one in greater detail.

Young man is looking at the sunrise

To know and be known. To love and be loved. At the heart of the matter, that’s what all of us want. It’s important to us. It gives us great security and significance. It provides the safety to risk and succeed.

There are many techniques that help in knowing people. Asking good questions. Active listening. “Walking the floors.” Team building exercises. Shared challenges and experiences. Understanding our different personalities and preferences through various assessment tools. All are helpful.

However, I find that for many of us there is a deeper issue that blocks us from knowing others as we should. It’s not so much about technique (although we could all use a wider repertoire of skills here). It’s about how we see others.

When I look at those I lead, how do I view them? What are those underlying presuppositions that shape my behavior toward them?

For me, I’ve come to the realization that every person is God’s highest creation (see Genesis 1:27,28) fallen though they may be. As such, I believe there are certain things that are true of them and implications that impact me in terms of getting to know them or not.

  1. Every person has inherent value. Do I agree with that? Is that important enough to me to treat every person with dignity and respect? What would that look like on a day-to-day basis? To treat everyone as a friend. As a neighbor. As a valued teammate. Based more on who they are than how they behave.
  2. Every person has a story to tell. Do I want to know it? The fact is, every person is interesting. They have paid a heavy price for their story. There have been successes and failures. Battles won and lost. Lessons learned. Everyone is in process. How can I draw that out?
  3. Every person has a contribution to make. Do I want them to make it? Every person is unique and has something that only he or she can contribute. Their gifting. Their perspective. Their cautions. Am I seeking to know and draw out their strengths and empowering them to use them?
  4. Every person has an aspiration that motivates them. Do I want them to achieve it? As former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, said, “Most people die with their music locked up within them.” We are more than our work. Our dreams have an impact on our performance. What do we lose if we don’t know their music?
  5. Every person has insecurities that limit them. Do I want to know the real person beyond the insecurities? Do I move toward them or keep them at arm’s length? Am I wanting mere conformation or genuine transformation?

Caring for those we lead begins with Knowing Them. And really it begins with me, with my starting points in how I view them.

Question: How do you see those your leadership arena? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The blind spot that can wreak havoc on your team

2 common mistakes to avoid as you develop your people

This area of Develop is not an easy one take on. It’s more personal than professional some will say.

business man with his head buried in the sand

I’ve had some leaders even make the comment, “Who are you to speak to me about this area of my life? That’s personal.” It is one that has to be handled very carefully.

Are You Consuming Your People or Developing Them?

The importance of developing your people in their thinking

Why is the area of thinking such an important one to consider in developing others? It shapes everything. We find that most leader-development seminars target one’s behavior or actions…how to lead a better meeting, how to form a team, how to make better decisions, etc.

Handsome late 20s black man with pencil on chin thinking isolated on a white background

All of these are important and very helpful. We do a number of them ourselves in our our seminars.

How to think about developing others

The Big 3 Areas of Development

When it comes to developing others, one of the most often asked question I hear is, “In what areas do you develop people?…

Smiling young couple in a coffee shop using touch screen computer. Young man and woman in a restaurant looking at digital tablet.

There are literally thousands of things people can work on in terms of their development. How do I know which one to zero in on?”

Intentionality Making Things Happen

I asked a dad one time how his family was doing. He replied after a short pause, “Well, nobody’s crying. So I guess everything is fine.” That comment is quite common among dads in particular and many leaders in general. It says a lot about how they view their role as a leader.

Football helmet and ball with play strategy drawn on a background chalk board with copy space.

The Problem of Distance

Jumping to Conclusions

I was reading recently of an interesting and all too common experience in the book of Joshua that indicates a poor leadership reaction. I call it the Joshua 22 Syndrome.

Coin operated binocular on the rocks

And it’s not a great leadership practice. In fact, it causes a lot of problems. Here’s the backdrop to what was taking place.

Setting Direction – Part 5: Which Boundaries?

What Guard Rails Have You Set Up?

A fifth question to aid us in our leadership role of Setting Direction is which boundaries will get us there? That is… what drives success?

Sneakers from above. Male and female feet in sneakers from above, standing at dividing line.

I picked this element up from reading Dr. Henry Cloud’s excellent book, Boundaries for Leaders. Boundaries help determine what you will allow or focus on and what you will not allow or not focus on.

Setting Direction – Part 4: What Are Our Current Realities?

Along with where are we going, why are we going there, and what does it look like when it’s done well, another what question needs to follow. Namely, what are our current realities?

Close up dirty golf ball stuck between two palm trees

We need to have the end in sight. We need good rationale for aiming there. And we need to make sure what reaching there actually should look like. However,

Setting Direction – Part 3: What Does It Look Like When Done Well?

What's the Win?

Once the overall direction has been set and the reasons for going there thought-through and communicated, another critical question is this one: What Does It Look Like When Done Well?

Selective focus on the word " Definition ",shot with very shallow depth of field.

Now you’re first response may be, “Isn’t that obvious?” It’s actually not. It is assumed, though. And this assumption is the cause of much frustration. Let’s look at why this question needs to be put on the table.