Leadership, Empathy And Seeing Values Actualized
Leadership [is] building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help. Once you understand what they really value, it’s easy because you can mostly give it to them. You can give them the freedom or direction that they want.”
~ David Kelley, Designing Curious Employees (Fast Co.)
Kelly is describing the relationship he promotes between owners and employees, but it is also what we need more of in the relationship between elected/appointed/hired representatives and the citizenry they represent. We need a better process of communication in our communities in order for them to thrive and truly reflect more of our values. It takes work, dedicated listening skills, and leadership qualities that can help individuals step out of their own reality.
Kelly sums up the above quote with, “the way I would measure leadership is this: of the people that are working with me, how many wake up in the morning thinking that the company is theirs?”
Traverse City’s current mayor expressed similar thoughts concerning the value of empathy applied to governance last fall when he shared the stage with the Chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Derek Bailey, at the 2010 Great Lakes Bioneers Conference (MyWHaT).
Wouldn’t it be nice to have more local representatives encouraging and developing a sense of ownership amongst all of us? There are some who try, but there are plenty who seemingly don’t give-a-damn.