I’m really excited about the upcoming release of my new book, The Heart of Leadership. However, when I met with my publisher about 6 months ago, the future of the project was uncertain. My publisher is a truth teller. I love that – and at times, I don’t. Here’s the story…
I went to San Francisco to meet with the entire publishing team with the goal to get them energized to create, promote and sell the book. After my presentation, the feedback was mixed. In fact, I was told people don’t read books, and if they do happen to start one, most don’t finish it.
I wasn’t sure where this conversation was going – how was I supposed to respond? These trends may be true, but these people publish books for a living! Were they testing my passion for the book, or were they serious?
As the conversation unfolded, someone suggested since people don’t finish books they start, maybe I should put the good part early in the book. Honestly, I had already tried to edit out all the “bad parts.” Then someone asked, “Of the five leadership character traits you outline in the book, which is most important?” I hadn’t thought about which trait was MOST important. However, it didn’t require much thought before I responded, “The most critical leadership character trait is the demonstrated ability to Think Others First.” Steve, the president of the company said, “Why not lead with that?”
If you decide to read The Heart of Leadership, you’ll see I took Steve’s advice. Even if you don’t finish the book, once you get to Think Others First, I believe you’ll have hit upon the most critical aspect of becoming a leader people want to follow.
When you and I can develop a “Think others first” mindset, it colors everything we do as a leader. Our thoughts drive our actions. When we think about others first, we’ll lead differently. When we demonstrate this leadership character trait, people know we are for them. They can sense our genuine desire to help them win.
In the book, I share a few ideas on how to make Think Others First a reality in our daily lives. Today, I want to share one idea that may be helpful.
When you encounter any other person, ask yourself the following question:
How can I add value in this person’s life?
You may surprised by the answers you’ll come up with. Maybe it’s as simple as offering encouragement; maybe it’s a resource you can provide; it could be some coaching or feedback; you may know someone you need to introduce to them (I was told recently, the most valuable thing we can share with someone else is our friends); or the value we add may be as straightforward as an expression of genuine concern or appreciation.
There are many ways to cultivate a Think Others First attitude. It’s not important how you do it; what’s critical is that you and I devote our lives to becoming this type of leader. If we’re successful, we’ll be on the journey to becoming a leader people want to follow.