Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and actions. – Harold S. Geneen
In his book, Everyday a Friday, Joel Osteen shares a story about a letter he received in the mail one day during his early days of pastoring. It was during a period of time when he was filled with much self-doubt. The letter was from John Maxwell.
Although at the time they had never met, the letter was filled with words of encouragement and hope. “I watched you on television on Sunday and you were outstanding. I’ve got to tell you, you’ve got what it takes,” Maxwell told him. He also shared suggestions and advice on how to be less nervous and how he prepares for when he speaks.
Regarding the letter, Osteen said, “He had forty years of experience, and he was voluntarily pouring it into a man he’d never even met before. He didn’t have to do that. He’d already won. But John understands this principle: True success is when you reach back and bring somebody along with you.”
That John Maxwell didn’t have to write that letter is a given, that he did write that letter speaks to the power of random acts of leadership.
It’s been said that the soft skills of leadership are the hardest. That may be true. Leaders shoulder a great responsibility and results are important. But it’s as leaders understand that unless you get the soft skills right it will always impede your growth and the productivity of your team.
Striking the right balance in your relational skill set is important. You want and expect your team to be productive without sacrificing the relational skills that create the culture you work and thrive in.
Random acts of leadership follows the principle of random acts of kindness. It’s a leadership philosophy that that revolves around the idea that we are all in this together and when we care for one another we all win.
What does random acts of leadership look like? I submit to you that it’s not complicated. Here are a few ways you can show it.
The letter John Maxwell sent to Joel Osteen is a classic example of giving unconditionally. It was unsolicited with no expectation of anything in return. It was just an act of generosity that made a difference. Giving unconditionally is a random act of leadership that says, “I get it. I see your struggle, I’ve been there. I believe in you.” And then you act on it.
Now and then people just need to vent. They may not need you to be their “answer man” but rather just to listen. For all of its rewards, leadership can be lonely and having a confidant to go to can make a world of difference. Your random act of leadership can simply be taking a friend to lunch and being a sounding board.
It is incumbent upon you as a leader to connect with your people. Don’t wait for them to take the first steps – you do it. A good leader initiates. Whether you have been brought together with your people by choice or by coincidence, take the first steps to building the relationship. Connecting intentionally is a random act of leadership that seeks to know, relate, and broaden the circle of influence for everyone.
Nothing can demoralize your people any quicker than work gone unnoticed or a team member not appreciated for their efforts. Understand this: People are your most appreciable asset and how they are treated matters. Random acts of leadership –showing appreciation for a job well done, will go a long way in building that person up and boosting morale in your organization. Be generous in praising your people.
These are but a few of the random acts of leadership that will make a difference. What would you add to the list?
© 2015 Doug Dickerson