Do We Really Like People or Do We Just Leverage Relationships?

Everything in today’s world seems to be moving so quickly. We have so much to accomplish, we are oftentimes so overwhelmed with our responsibilities and driven by our personal goals. This makes it easy for us to meet people, engage in a manner that appears friendly and even caring, but our subconscious and even conscious minds move easily and quickly to a place where we begin to align each new encounter with our personal desires. We begin to think immediately about how we can leverage each relationship to fast-track the goals we are working so hard to achieve. We may call this networking, and to some extent it is, and it is good and important to connect with others and to actively look for ways to help and support each other. However, taken to an extreme, we can soon become self-centered and even uncaring deep inside though our public image of “niceness” remains intact.

One of the dimensions of leadership that is considered transformational is “Individualized consideration”. This speaks to the particular attention a leader pays to the well-being of each follower. It may just be that individualized consideration is a behavior we should work hard to adopt in every relationship or interaction with another individual. It may just be a brief encounter, but we must train ourselves to develop those interpersonal lens that will help us to see people as human, as individuals, as persons uniquely created in the image of God for His glory and not for us to leverage.

Genuine care and concern for each other will support the work of community development and, in fact, promote progress in any project we undertake.

As it relates to leadership, a genuine interest in the welfare of followers will help leaders gain the appropriate buy-in and commitment to accomplish the goals of their organizations.  However, though leaders can be made aware of the importance of being genuinely supportive of their followers, this kind of caring cannot be faked or institutionalized through mandates from higher authorities. That is why some leaders genuinely appear and truly are more “transformational” than others. In essence, more human.

Maybe it is time for us to strive to to adopt behaviors that embrace individualized consideration whether or not we see ourselves as leaders. Maybe it is time for us to become truly human and to recognize the humanity in others.