Whether you’re a leader or you’re behind the scenes; whether you’re a self-professing Christian or someone who finds faith in God difficult to swallow, you are interested in something. And in leadership, a corner is turned when you become more interested in people and seek to be less interesting to people.
When you are interested in people, you begin to care about their dreams, visions, and goals as much as your own. The Christian calls this the golden rule (see Matthew 5-7) or one of the ‘love one another’ passages. Other people call this humility or good sense, but this isn’t so common or clear anymore. Even Christian bloggers will tell you how to ‘elevate your platform’ creating an ongoing tension that doesn’t need fuel….our tendency to think about ourselves first doesn’t need any more encouragement.
Some subjects are interesting to me and honestly, some people are more interesting than others, but you already see the issue, don’t you? I am seeking out, without any effort, people who line up with my own interests, rather than being interested in the people right in front of me. Jim Collins has mentioned this in various forms as akin to level 5 leadership and others have also chimed in about the importance of being interested in people first. But, in a world encouraging self-promotion and self-broadcasting at every turn, this is becoming increasingly messy.
So, here’s the challenge this week. Can you and I be more interested in other people and their needs before our own? Can we seek to become less concerned with whether we are ourselves ‘interesting’ and simply be interested?
“I like ____, she listens to me”
“When I am around _______ I feel important”
“I want to work for ______ he cares about my success”
A final exercise for the week….try filling in the blanks above and then consider why you wrote the names down? Whoever makes you feel important, listens to you, and cares about your success will ultimately have more influence in your life than the person who says ‘you are so darn interesting, tell me more’. The latter will encourage you for a while to do something, the former will give you courage to be someone. And the difference is life changing.