Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. Mark 6:30-31 NKJV
It had been quite a busy week at Mr. Fade’s company, coupled with the fact that things became suddenly politically stable in the city. As a result, many of his staff members faced a weekend practically stranded for cash. Salaries were already in view, but he felt particular concern for their welfare through that particular weekend. After pondering on a means of providing some form of relief for his workers, he called the accountant, and gave an instruction to make available a stipend for each staffer.
This was a few months ago, and I’m still touched today when I remember this exemplary behaviour displayed by Mr. Fade. It was more than the expression of a boss’s initiative. Even more, it was the heart of a leader beating. A leader who really cared!
As a leader, do you really care about those men and women you are blessed to lead? The word ‘Care’ means to be concerned; to mind; be bothered; think about your workers, etc. Considering how you treat them, will any of them write such a testimonial as your impact upon their lives and work?
Our text shows our Lord Jesus, the epitome of true and exemplary leadership. He was concerned about their inability to make out time just to rest. It is an unusual leader who forces his staff to take a holiday. They were busy doing what He had assigned them to, but he saw something only a true leader sees – their need at that moment.
“Oh God, take us away the leaders who focus always only their own goals regardless of how battered the executors of the vision become in the process. Oh God, give us listening and feeling leaders who are touched with the feelings of their workers’ infirmity, as Jesus was.”
SOME WAYS TO SHOW YOU CARE
FEEL FOR THEM
Many are quick to say, “Avoid getting personal with your staff”. While there is strong basis for this advice, the fact remains that you all leaders are served by human beings, not machines. They have feelings, fears, hopes, anxieties, etc. All these build up into destructive forces that hinder their efficiency at work. Dissatisfaction mixed with fear for the future, and garnished with inability to meet up family and societal obligations, produces inefficient, irritable and unresponsive workers.
You’ll know something’s wrong from their incessant lateness, seemingly incurable pettiness in inter-personal relationships, and a change in attitude from always-ready- to-do to must-be-pushed-to-perform. These, among many other signals, show that your workers need something other than a ‘good, stern warning laced with threats of memos, queries, etc. Don’t be surprised that your attention and a little talk will work wonders.
It was barely middle of the month, but Simby was already short of funds. Her immediate headache was how to pay her way home after work that day. When her colleague suggested talking to any of the company’s managers, her face fell. ‘I’d rather walk!’ she said.
Can staffers hope to find [at least a feeling of] relief by approaching you? They may not necessarily get the total solution, but will they leave with a feeling that there’s someone who cares? Now, I’m not referring to emotional entanglements. Of course, that is completely ethical!
JUST BE THERE FOR THEM!
It’s that plain. Focus on your job description, but pay kind and humane attention to the people over whom you are appointed or employed. It is the needs of people that makes your office or functions necessary.
SEE A BIT MORE THAN JUST YOUR WORK
Do you see their leave from work as evidence of laziness, incompetence or their conscious efforts to hinder your goals and projects? Or do you help them see such times as valuable for their refreshment and re-energizing to perform better? Before you mentally brand their ‘frequent’ excuses as mere expressions of slothfulness check what the real problem may be. Good workers don’t suddenly go ‘bad’ – check it out, something is wrong!
As a leader, there are powers of office at your disposal that you can employ to make life better for your workers. You can make better staff welfare proposals to the authorities if it’s beyond your official powers to effect.
Someone once said that walking a bumpy road is more painful for the one wearing tight shoes. What if the shoes were on your feet instead?
BE A TRUE EXAMPLE
Stop doing what you say is not permitted by policy. Be the example. You cannot teach people to comply when you can’t even perform what you are enforcing. Your kindness makes your strictness and discipline upheld and supported by all.
The truth is, leadership is the lid on group or corporate progress and achievement. Leaders are sacrificial lambs, not sacred cows. An Arabian proverb says, ‘To be a chief of people is to serve them.’ In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them gently and they will show themselves great.”
You must realize that you are the type of worker you will ever get.
If you want better workers, then be a better leader. God bless.
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