With the holidays the “season of giving” is just behind us. What better topic then for the first nugget of the year than GENEROSITY!The Oxford dictionary gives the definition for generosity as “The quality of being kind and generous.” In your head the question “What does that have to do with leadership?” may now be appearing. My answer to this: Everything!
Here is how generosity shows up in leadership:
o Sharing your experience
Experience you have gathered – good and bad – is possibly even more valuable. Give your team the gift of learning from your experiences.
o Sharing information
People in the workplace generally want to be “in” on things. You, as a leader, have a lot of information which in your judgment may not be interesting to everyone. You may be wrong and fall into the trap of deciding for your people what they are interested in. By not hoarding information and not seeing knowledge as a currency of power, and instead sharing as much as you can, you will increase your teams sense of purpose and belonging and ultimately their motivation.
o Making others shine
Give your team members visibility to and of the executive level by assigning certain tasks to them. Give them access to your boss by delegating some of your more frequent interactions. Assign projects, work on cross-functional teams and speaking opportunities where they can show their talent to a broader audience.
o Spending quality time with individuals
Start with giving more of your time and make it quality time. Quality time is time where you are fully present when speaking with someone without interruption. Use this time to better know others one-on-one.
o Making others feel important
Employees who feel they are an important part of an organization will have much stronger ties to their employer – one crucial part in any retention strategy. Whatever you can do to make others in the organization feel that what they do is important is energy well spent.
o Fueling the success of others
Don’t try to shield your best talent from opportunities but help them to advance their career even if this might mean you lose them from your team. This might hurt in the short term but it will certainly attract others to join your team.
o Being patient
When someone on your team is not quite as fast in their delivery as you would like them to be, give them the benefit of the doubt. Be generous and believe that they are doing their best. You have chosen them for a certain task for a reason; perhaps you have not made sure that they have all the tools and knowledge they need – see experience (above).
Walt Whitman once wrote “The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” – This quote reinforces that giving, i.e. being generous, is like building a muscle – it takes practice and repetition. Once you have acquired a generous mindset it will surprise you how positive you feel.
Finally, ask yourself how generous you are with yourself? How often are you beating yourself up for missing a deadline or making a mistake? How patient are you with yourself? How often do you treat yourself? This too is very important!
What can you do today to be more generous both with yourself and others?
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