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“If you want to make a stand, help others make a stand.” – Confucius
That’s it. The Confucian theory incarnates the golden rule for exceptional leadership, Humanity or the quality of being human.
If you want people to love you, you must love people first. If you want to achieve your goal, help others achieve their goal first. If you want people to understand your needs, you must understand their needs first.
Pure common sense, but unfortunately common sense seems to be the less common of all senses in this world we all live in today.
Companies are made out of People!
Companies are made out of people and people, regardless of what position they occupy in the organization, all have similar needs. As humans, we all have the need for esteem, constant betterment and realization, among others.
One of the most common signs of poor leadership – not just in the corporate world, but also very visible in the field of politics these days – has to do with the lack of understanding of real people needs.
It is sad to see how way too many companies place shareholders value before people value. It sounds crazy, right? But unfortunately this is the most extended business philosophy these days.
There are also too many examples of politicians putting economic interest ahead of public interest. Money and power have poisoned our society to an extent where humanity is perceived most of the time as a sign of weak leadership.
Has the corporate world lost the sense of Humanity?
I like to revisit both the Confucius theories, as well as the Maslow´s hierarchy from time to time.
I would recommend for everyone who holds a position of authority, to read about these two guys and their thoughts at some point in your life. I can promise you won´t regret it.
These two theories clearly epitomize the pattern that human strengths and virtues (Confucius) and motivations (Maslow), generally move through.
I´m quite sure many of you have heard about the Maslow´s hierarchy of human needs, it is very popular and has been used in sociology studies, as well as in leadership courses around the world, for many years.
I´m not so sure though, whether some leaders remember human virtues, or what drives human motivations on a day to day basis, so let´s look at the five layers in the Maslow´s hierarchy and see what we can learn.
If you want people to understand your needs, you must understand their needs first.
Maslow´s Hierarchy of Needs
Physiological needs come first, as if not met, the human system fails. The need for survival. Air, water, food, clothing and shelter.
I will not talk much further about physiological needs, as if you are reading this post, you have got these needs fully satisfied, so let´s move on to the second layer.
Once the physical needs are satisfied, safety needs will drive human behavior.
Safety and security needs consist of personal security, financial stability, well-being and protection against unexpected adversities, such as illness or accidents.
At this stage we could say that if you have a job (a job that pays decently) you would have most of the basic needs covered.
Love and belonging
Once basic physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, humans need to develop a sense of belonging. The sense of belonging – and acceptance – to a family, group of friends, religious group or a company, helps humans develop confidence and will positively affect our capacity to love others.
As mentioned in the lines above, if you want people to love you, you must love them first.
Those executives who avoid interaction with people at lower layers in the organization, are very susceptible to loneliness (we all have heard about the loneliness of the CEO) missing the sense of belonging element, so crucial to developing the ability to love others as much as yourself.
Esteem and respect
We all like to feel respected, not only those in positions of authority and power, but every human being has the need to be respected. If you want people to respect you, you must respect them first.
Every human tries to gain respect at work – at the end of the day, we spend one third of our mature lives working – but if we do not find ourselves respected at work, we will engage in a hobby or any other activity that helps us gain the esteem and respect we need.
“People follows leaders who understand their needs, show respect for them and most importantly, who make them feel part of a cause”
Every human has got potential. Self-actualization can only be achieved when a human being reaches his/her full potential.
People want to achieve things, feel that they accomplished something important in their field of interest. As we said, we spend one third of our lives at work, so every worker has the desire to grow and achieve his/her full potential.
Humanity is the Golden Rule to Exceptional Leadership.
Don´t forget “Humans follow those who help them fulfill their needs”
I hope you enjoyed the reading. If so, don´t forget to click on “Like” and share it with others who may find it useful.
You may also like to read my recent posts on Linkedin.
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Jordi is the Managing Principal Consultant at Key SChain Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Organizational Strategy, Portfolio Management and Operational Excellence.