Generosity is something I’m thinking and praying about lately. And I’m really paying attention to the acts of generosity I’m seeing and feeling around me – both personally and professionally. I believe good leaders are magnetic for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is they live generously. And I think the same principle applies to organizations who are generous with the people vital to their success. But how do you really know the word “generous” applies to you?
We need to be careful, not to equate “generosity” with a preachy, feet-washing, do-gooder persona. It’s also not limited to those who give a lot of money away. Generosity is as much a spiritual concept as anything. It’s good to be generous!
To help you explore you own generosity…let’s consider the opposite – we know what it feels like to be in the presence of stingy, selfish, emotionally-isolated leaders. It pushes people away. And ruins the multiplying factor of “we.” The problem is, those who are not generous, don’t know it. That’s called a blind spot.
Here are the questions to ask yourself to test your own generosity:
- Are you available for people to find, consult, or even commiserate?
- Are you willing to listen more than you talk with employees, teammates, customers, friends, and family?
- Are you open-hearted in the presence of people who are not like you, especially with people who vote for and support causes that you don’t?
- Are you appreciative – do you say “thank you?” freely?
- Are you willing to share your money?
If you are willing, ask a dozen people who really know you. That will be a better test.
What we learned in researching and publishing the How Goodness Pays book is that human beings are born generous – with the genetic instincts to help other people. We only learn to hurt people as we age and grow.
Teams only perform to their highest possibility when lead by a generous team leader. It’s obvious: when team leaders are generous, they get a higher level of commitment and selflessness in return. It creates a culture where people want to thrive together, and win together. We call that goodness.
The focus this week at the Good Leadership Breakfast is living generously. I’ve invited a client and friend – Julie Kae, from the global data analytics company Qlik – to share her inspirational story of how both individuals and corporations can thrive by living generously.
If you can’t attend the breakfast, we will share the highlights next week. In the meantime, will you ask yourself: How is “generosity” alive in your leadership?