There are many ways to fail as a leader but only one way to succeed.

John Maxwell said it best when he said that you can care for people without leading them but you cannot lead people without caring for them.


You Can’t Force People to Follow

Way too many wannabe leaders aspire to a position that will “force” or require people to follow them. They fail to realize that no one follows a position. People follow people, not positions or titles. They also fail to understand that no one can be forced to follow, they can only be forced to comply.

When your people merely comply, their growth is limited. When you as a leader limit the growth of your people, you also limit your growth and the growth of your organization as well.


Authentic Leaders Genuinely Care

Authentic leaders aspire to be the type of person that people will want to follow. They have learned that people follow leaders who genuinely care about them. I use the word “genuinely” because you can only pretend to care for a relatively short period of time. Sooner or later your supposed followers will see you for the fraud that you are.

If you expect people to follow you, then you should expect to do the things required of a leader. You must care about your people.

If you do not possess the human capacity to care for another individual, you do not possess the capacity to lead. All authentic leaders know that if you cannot care about others you will not succeed, long term, as a leader.


Invest Time in Your People

The good news is that you can learn to care. You can learn to invest time with your people instead of spending time on them.

Invest your time learning about them as people. You’re not likely to care about an employee when you see them as a number, but you just might care when you see them as a person — just like other people you care about.

Slow down, learn about the motivations, the goals, the aspirations, and even the challenges of your people. They are real! They matter, and your success depends on them.

It’s tough to care about people you don’t know about and it’s impossible to lead people you don’t care about. If you think you can, you’re even misleading yourself.