Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leading With a Generous Spirit

Bruna Martinuzzi’s article Degrees of Giving: Leading with Generosity, points out the huge importance of having a spirit of generosity in a leadership role. Here is a summary of some of the ideas addressed.

In a position of leadership, and considering the power and privilege that comes with that position, one has certain expectations and obligations to fulfil. Namely, to show generosity of spirit to those whom one is leading. Leading generously does not necessarily mean giving a monetary or charity gift. The gifts you can offer as a leader are priceless and have lasting effects.

As a leader you can:

-       Give People a Sense of Importance.
Help your team see that the work they perform is important and has a bearing on the ultimate vision of the organisation.

-       Give Opportunity
Delegate not just the routine jobs, but worthwhile work. Let your team know you trust them to do a good job. This work becomes a gift of development and growth for the person you assign it to.

-       Give People Visibility
Make sure credit is given where credit’s due. Ensure where possible, that your team gets individual recognition from their superiors. Knowledge that you are representing your team well to upper management is a great motivator for everyone and engenders loyalty.

-       Give Information
According to a 1000 Ventures survey on effective motivation, one of the top items individuals want in the workplace is the ability to be “in” on things. The employees rated this 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Managers ranked this item as a 1. This is a huge chasm in understanding.
Be generous with ideas and expertise. This is not just beneficial for the individual- it’s a smart way of doing business,

-       Give Encouragement
Be generous with your praise when a good job has been done, and generous with your understanding when someone’s having a hard time with a task. Show not just an appreciation for good work but a genuine admiration for their talents.

Hand in hand with all of these things you should also remember to:

-       Be Engaged
In today’s society it is so easy to become self involved and exclude others without even meaning to. This self absorption automatically prevents a generous spirit from flourishing. There is an African village where the greeting words for ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ are: “I am here if you are here”. Imagine how much easier it would be to give if we were fully present with people. Perhaps this is what Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he said: “The only gift is the gift of thyself”.

Although generosity is, in its purest form, altruistic, you do still get something back from it. Whether it be the return of goodwill from someone who has previously benefited from your generosity, or just the immense satisfaction of seeing someone gain something precious as a result of your giving.

Finally, take inspiration from the words of Walt Whitman- “The habit of giving enhances the desire to give”. The more you make a habit out of giving, the more generous your spirit will become, seeing you emerge as a stronger leader.


Educational Consultant said...

Thank you for putting into words what supportive leadership in life is about. Whether you are leading a child, a family, a group, a business, a community, a city or a country - to me the basic principles of a good leader are the same. Generosity, acknowledgement, consultation,fairness, consistency, information sharing, respect, praise, support, genuine interest, unselfishness, professionalism and caring. These make a strong leader respected by those being led. Niki Buchan

Niki Buchan said...

This post really got me thinking and reflecting about life and the people who lead others.

I have observed children who lead through a form of subtle bullying with their 'victims' trapped in the cycle of trying to please and be accepted by the leader who gives them recognition and then without apparent reason rejects them leaving the 'victim' confused and hurt.

The most effective young leaders show the dispositions you mention in this blog - a genuine caring and humility combined with the ability to recognize and support the strengths of their peers.

Children I worked with over the past 28 years who displayed these sensitive leadership skills have become successful adults leading strong teams of genuinely passionate and motivated teams.

mmmmwww said...

This post reminds me of a film about kindness and generosity of strangers. It is not released yet. Here is the trailer. Hope you enjoy it, too.