Last week, Mark "Kaiser" Schmidt shared via video at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. As an Air Force trainer, he carries significant responsibility to ensure that pilots are equipped to do their job with flawless execution. Yet surprisingly to some (not so surprisingly to others) he shared how he taps into an even greater aspect of life when he's working with others.
"Our most precious commodity is the person. Not the jet."
Simply put: the most important thing is the person. It doesn't matter if it's a team, a squadron, or a workgroup. It's all about the person. Kaiser continued to share that there are four key things he wants to ensure that everyone he leads knows from him:
- I'm proud of you.
- I care about you.
- I love you.
- I trust you.
Can that be said about you and your leadership? For the volunteers in your ministry? The staff on your team? The employees in your care?
Are you proud of them? If so, share it. If not, then something else likely needs to be addressed in the quality of their work.
Do you care about the people under you? Caring for our people must land at the top of our list, for Leadership is Stewardship!
Do you love the people you are entrusted to lead? If you love them, you'll be able to better care about them. If you don't love these people, you'll always struggle to care for, be proud of, or trust them. And lastly, do you trust the people on your team?
Do you trust that they're going to work to accomplish the big picture vision? Do you trust that they're "all in" for the sake of the common good? Do you trust that they're not just interested in themselves, but want to deliver quality results? If you do, then show it. And if you don't, then it's probably time to do something about their performance or your perspective.
Leading others isn't particularly hard. But it does require work. And though sometimes we forget it, caring about our people should be our top priority. As Vineet Nayar states in his book Employees First, Customers Second, "One thought...should be fundamental to all our journeys: turn conventional management upside down by putting employees first."
When you put employees first, teammates first, others first, they will be able to say, as Mark Schmidt's pilots said: "I felt inspired by this guy. I knew this guy was going to make me better because he loved me."
When we love others, when we want to make them win, when we want to inspire them, when we put them first, when we simply care about them... everyone wins.