One of my favorite movies is the 1990’s classic “You’ve Got Mail”. The movie is about the owner of a small bookstore that is being put out of business by a super-sized bookstore chain (which is pretty ironic because in the intervening years large chain bookstores have been under attack by Amazon and other online sources). In one memor
There are many ways that leaders inspire those around them to superior performance. Providing words of encouragement, modeling the behavior that is expected from others, focusing on common goals and objectives, putting the needs of others above self-interest, actively listening, treating others with kindness and compassion, teaching and mentoring co-workers, showing appreciation to team members, setting high standards for themselves and others, and laying the groundwork for change are among the array of tools in the leaders toolbox.
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One of the foundation stones of the ministry of Presbyterian Senior Living is compassion. The records from the early founders of PSL indicated that they were moved by compassion and concern for the welfare of orphans and aging persons in a time before the social safety net of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The term compassion has been a part of the PSL mission statement for over 35 years.
Like many young people in the 1960’s I began my working career at a very early age. Starting with doing lawn work and doing assorted household chores for neighbors at age eleven, I graduated to working at a local chair rental business, delivering tables and chairs for special events (which in retrospect was probably a violation of child labor laws). In each of these situations, the opportunity to earn spending money provided a measure of financial independence. Just after my 12th birthday, I joined the ranks of thousands of young people delivering the Grit newspaper.
Looking at the world today, one might come to the conclusion that we are suffering from an accountability crisis. Whether the discussion is about business, education, health care, politics, or the general subject of changing attitudes in society, the lack of personal accountability is a topic of conversation. In many respects, success in any area of life is tied to creating and sustaining a sense of accountability in individuals and teams of people who work together toward a common goal.
In 2009 Simon Sinek wrote a best-selling book titled Start With Why: How Good Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. In the book he put forward the idea that the message of every organization needs to start by addressing the question of why –“What is your purpose, cause, or belief.” He argued that this approach is essential in meeting the basic human need to belong – a feeling based on shared values or beliefs. The discipline of how something is done, and the consistency of what an organization does is still required, but cannot replace the motivation of staff and the loyalty of customers that occurs when everyone understands why an organization was founded and what it believes.