Be a generous leader

April 20, 2011 · 2 comments

Recipe for a happy print shop – part 8 of 8

Generosity is an important quality of leadership. I believe that generosity is a very underrated character trait. The greatest leaders give with no expectation of return.

When most of us think of generosity, we usually think about gifts of money. In the context of leadership, there are many gifts that have no monetary value, but whose value is priceless.

These include:

  • Giving a new employee a chance that they maybe really didn’t deserve
  • Giving an existing employee a second chance
  • Giving someone the benefit of the doubt before leaping to a conclusion or making a judgment
  • Noticing when a coworker does something right, and expressing appreciation

I personally believe that leaders, by virtue of the power and privileges they hold (relative to those they lead), have an obligation to be kind and generous in their praise and monetary rewards.

I believe that great leaders lead with a generous heart.

Printing is a “busy” industry. As leaders, we often get so focused on hitting the next deadline, and making the customer happy, that — in the process — we neglect to provide generous support for our coworkers. Most employees are seeking real meaning in their work. They want to feel like they are part of something bigger and better. They want to know that the work they’re doing is making a difference in the world. A generous leader gives his coworkers a sense of importance and value. Sometimes, even a small action on the part of a leader can build self-esteem and provide encouragement for a coworker. A good leader strives to develop a generous spirit.

Gifts of time and money are also important. When was the last time you gave someone a $20 bill for hitting an “impossible deadline” or a Starbucks gift card for doing a good job for one of your big customers? When have you bought dinner or given a day off with pay for a longtime employee and their spouse? We can easily neglect to share the fruits of our labor in our daily interactions. We have a tendency to become too self-absorbed. We can get so focused on all the work we’re doing, without intending it, that we exclude others. Self absorption prevents generosity. Once in awhile, every leader needs to ask themselves: Am I giving enough to the people around me NOW?

Your continued generosity will benefit your coworkers today, but it will benefit you tomorrow.

Be a generous leader.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gene Hayes April 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Mike, a great series.. I have kept each one and am passing on to my son and daughter who are in the business.

Did I miss the Poster ?

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Peter Romero April 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I love your articles. right on, and especially this one.

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