Becoming a Leader People Love to Follow
Most business leaders want to be someone their employees love to follow, but achieving that might require a change of thinking on the part of the leader, according to Craig Groeschel.
Groeschel is the pastor of Life Church, the largest church in the United States, with more than 60,000 members on 30 campuses around the country. Groeschel was the keynote speaker of the 2018 Global Leadership Summit, which was held Aug. 9-10 in Chicago and linked via satellite to locations around the country, including at True North Church in
North Augusta. Several hundred local business leaders attended the simulcast event there.
In the opening session, Groeschel cited a poll showing that the areas business leaders think they need to improve in don’t jibe with a survey of their employees. The leaders believed that the two areas they needed to improve in were finances and technology, but according to the employees, the two areas were leadership and emotional intelligence.
Leaders, though, often mistake popularity for good leadership.
“You may be popular if you are respected,” Groeschel said, “but you’ll never be respected if you’re only trying to be popular.”
He outlined four areas that leaders need to succeed in to be trusted and respected.
1. A heart to care. “You will never be a leader that others love to follow if you aren’t a leader who loves people,” Groeschel said.
He said there are four words that are essential for leaders to remember in interactions with employees: “I notice; you matter.” He advised leaders to appreciate their employees more than they think they should – then double that appreciation. The best leaders help their employees know they are valued. That’s important, because the top reason that employees leave is because they don’t feel appreciated by management.
“Good employees don’t leave organizations — they leave bad managers,” he said.
2. A passion to inspire. Inspiration, Groeschel believes, is different from motivation.
“Motivating is pushing people; inspiring is pulling out what’s already inside them,” he said.
Surveys show that among great leaders, one quality stands out: Being centered. A centered leader is secure, stable, confident and not trying to prove something. He or she inspires employees to see their work as bigger than themselves.
“They are guided by their values, driven by purpose and obsessed with mission,” Groeschel said. “Passion transforms a job into a calling.”
3. A willingness to empower. The best leaders unleash higher performance through empowerment, not through command and control.
“If you think you need to have control over everything, you’ll become the lid to your organization,” Groeschel said. “You can have control or growth, but not both.”
Delegating tasks, he added, creates followers, but delegating authority creates leaders and employees who feel more ownership in the company. The strength of an organization is reflected by how deep into the organization people have the ability to say yes without approval from the top.
That requires trust, though, which is something leaders sometimes have trouble doing.
“The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them,” Groeschel said. “If you don’t trust your team, you’re either too controlling or you have the wrong people. Either way, the problem is yours to solve.”
4. A willingness to be real. Groeschel acknowledged that leaders often have trouble being real because of the pressure to provide strong leadership and to do things right. But what employees are most often looking for is leaders who exhibit honesty, integrity and vulnerability.
“In this broken world it’s time for great leaders to step up,” he said. “You don’t have to be someone you’re not, you don’t have to always get it right, but you do have to be real.”