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  • Jonathan Parker

Great Leaders Are Connected to the People They Serve

One of the greatest pitfalls for a person in the position of leadership is to be disconnected from the people he or she serves.

In their book, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do, authors Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller point out that great leaders value both results and relationships. They point out that leaders must not only get results, but must also have followers to help produce those results.

They also quote leadership guru John Maxwell, who said, "People will not give you their hand until they can see your heart." Truly valuing and building meaningful relationships means being vulnerable, investing time, and giving attention to the concerns and needs of the people.

I have found that the Bible is another book that provides great leadership insights, and I want to suggest that anyone who seeks to be wise and learn great principles of leadership should consult it. Even if you don't read it for spiritual purposes, the Bible is undeniably accurate in the historical record of the lives of great leaders who lived many years ago.

One such example is found in 2 Chronicles 19:4. Jehoshaphat was the great, great, great grandson of King David, and he was the King of Judah. This particular verse recounts that Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but went out among the people.

Great leaders are visible and accessible. They remain connected to the people, and give attention to the concerns or needs of those they serve. There is no honor in staying in "the King's palace" - your big office with your assigned parking space and shielded by people who only think like you or speak words of agreement. People may respect the rank on your collar or the title on your door, but you will never foster loyalty or excellent productivity by keeping the people at arm's length.

Go out and get to know those who are working with you or for you. Find out what motivates and burdens them, and how you can serve them. Listen to their feedback, even if you disagree. Don't let insecurity or busyness keep you from connecting.

Remember, a person who doesn't want to be touched by the people should never be tapped to lead them.

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