Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Think back in your own life about memorable people, do you remember everything that they have said or is it more about the way they made you feel.

I have discovered within my own leadership journey that one of the key attributes of great leaders who truly make a positive impact on the lives of others is a genuine love for the people they serve.  When I think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, John Wooden, Susan B. Anthony, Nelson Mandela, Erin Gruwell, and many other incredible leaders, I recognize an authentic, genuine, and incredible love for the people who they have been given the opportunity to serve as leaders.  Each of these leaders reached high levels of effectiveness and impact as leaders and the people who work alongside these leaders were greatly impacted by the love demonstrated through these amazing leaders.

In an article that I read recently by Jas Singh, “Why Great Leaders Love People”, he states that many leaders in today’s society aspire to become leaders because they desire more money, a feeling of superiority, a posh title, a change to go down in history, or a better career opportunity.  He goes on to say the greatest leaders drug was not money, fame, and new clothes, it was to help and positively influence as many people as they can.  Leaders who truly love the people they serve are more concerned about the impact and well-being of the people they have the opportunity to serve verses the other accolades that accompany leadership.  This is one form of loving people as a leader!

In another article written by Meghan Biro, “Let Love Inspire Your Leadership”, she states that Gallup validated the impact of loving your people as a leader in a study by State of American Workplace.  They discovered that emotionally connected employees performed better, were more productive, and were more engaged when they worked for leaders who provided great emotional support.  In addition to this study, the author of the article also suggested that you will find that love expressed from leadership is one of the main reasons why people will admire and embrace corporate culture and management practices from upper leadership.

I have discovered within my own leadership journey that when I make a conscious effort to truly love the people I serve, I perform better as a leader.  The synergy, communication, trust, happiness, and fulfillment that I experience with my team is amazing.  We accomplish more, grow as leaders, develop lifelong relationships, and enjoy doing the things that we do with one another.

As you continue to evolve as a leader in 2017, I challenge you to genuinely love the people you have the opportunity to serve as a leader through your thoughtfulness, words, and actions!  My belief is that this love not only will change the lives of the people you have the opportunity to serve, but will change your life too!