Leadership requires action, and a leader must be the first to act. If they are not the first to act then they are a follower.
When you are THE FIRST TO HELP other people, without knowing it, we are actually helping ourselves at the same time.
1. Witnessing An Act Of Kindness
Have you ever heard of oxytocin? Oxytocin is a chemical that occurs in our brains when we help or serve others. It makes you and the person you have helped both feel good. Even witnessing an act of kindness gives us a boost of oxytocin in our brains.
After witnessing that act of kindness, that person is then more likely to do something or help another person. Oxytocin is a chemical that is contagious, so the more we have it, the better for ourselves and others in how we feel.
When you make people feel good because you have been kind to them and helped them, they will remember how you made them feel. They will not necessarily remember exactly what you did or what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Making people feel good because you have helped them will increase your influence with that person.
My best friend in the world is a guy called Paul, and he is a chartered psychologist specialising in people development at work and in life. He has his own personal development app and company called Wise Amigo.
The app helps people take charge of their own personal development that will enable them to be more effective throughout their careers. Paul also hosts personal development events that I have had the privilege of attending. One of Paul’s best traits that I am proud to know him for is, he is always willing to help another person.
Whether that be through his work, with his friends or with his family. It is in Paul’s DNA. He has helped me so much in the past and I am extremely grateful to him.
Speaking of me, I will always do my best to help others too. However, I need to work harder than Paul does, paying particular attention to others and being the first to help others is something that comes a bit more naturally to Paul than it does to me.
2. A Servant Leader
People who have a natural ability to help a person is what I like to know them as; a servant leader. That is what I see my friend Paul as. A servant leader who knows when a person needs help, they also offer their help to a person whether they need it or not.
A person may need help for something big or something small, it doesn’t matter to the servant leader, the tasks are all equal. The servant leader has what I like to call “a heart of gold”. I know many people with good hearts, but not many with a “heart of gold”. A person who has a “heart of gold” always offers help.
No matter how big or small the task is, the impact is the same
It could be helping a person carry their shopping home or to their car. It could be opening the door for a person. I could be giving up your seat on the train to an elderly or pregnant person. If a person has dropped something on the floor and they pick it up for them.
These are not huge things to help a person with, but I assure you the people you have helped will feel great, and that is what they remember.
As part of your team and organisation, you can help out your teammates and colleagues in many different ways. All you need to do is have the desire to help your fellow person for the good of the team, the organisation and for yourself.
3. Do You Have The Desire To Help Others?
I have the desire to help as many people as possible through writing this and my other articles, most of them I will probably never meet. If you want to help as many people as possible too, then you must first work on applying the leadership principles that I am sharing within your own life.
When I started learning these principles, it took me a while to start applying them, and when I got to a high level of knowing and applying these principles, that is when I moved from being a team member to a team leader. It took me a good few years to accomplish, but I did it.
One thing I never stopped doing was supporting others to do the same, hence this website. This is a small step to revealing who you are and the potential you have.
If you want to start increasing your influence now, then start making a deliberate attempt to help people. When offering your help, don’t expect anything in return from the person you are helping. I promise you the feeling you will get from helping another person is amazing.
If you’re ever having a bad day at work, find a person who needs help and offer it to them. Believe me, your day will turn around.
I will share with you some examples of this from my days as an engineer.
I was part of the technical team in my first role within the railway, and it was up to us to come up with new modifications to improve the performance of the trains. Even though we were a team, we were working as individuals and we wanted this to change.
So, we would offer help to our other team members whenever we weren’t too busy with other work. It surprised the rest of the engineering team because offering help wasn’t the “done thing” in those days. The help we offered wasn’t a “one-off” either, it was as much as we possibly could.
Then, after a while, the rest of the engineering team were doing the same thing, and it became the norm. We even started to attend different sites as a team for meetings in different cities, and learn from other companies. Then after a while, those companies would learn something from us.
The procurement team and the engineers on the shop floor started to do the same thing, and offer their help to their fellow engineers. It then became common practice within the business as a whole. All we needed to do was to offer our help a few times, and people started to follow our lead.
We increased our influence, hence LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE.
4. Leadership is highly visual
As a shift manager when I worked in Scotland, I remember being on nightshift and I was walking through the shop floor just checking on things. I did this a few times during the shift just in case anybody needed anything from me.
One of the facilities team members came over to me, and quite aggressively asked me for a mop. After calming him down, I wanted to know why he would come to me for a mop instead of his supervisor or even his supervisor’s line manager.
If a team member wanted something then the official route was to go to their immediate supervisor. I was baffled, not because I was too senior or too good, but I was wondering how long he had needed the mop. Why didn’t his supervisor help him? It can’t be too difficult to get the right tools to the right job for the right person.
When I finished my conversation with the facilities team member, I had discovered that he had asked his supervisor and their line manager on a number of occasions, but didn’t get anywhere. This obviously frustrated the guy, and with it built up inside him, he lashed out at me as a last resort.
This didn’t make me feel good, but it was an opportunity for me to help this person and increase my influence with them. So, within minutes I retrieved a mop from the stores, booked it out in his name with my authorisation and he was able to continue on with his tasks.
Helping him by handing a mop to him made me feel great, and it also put a smile on his face. The frustration had gone.
That’s when you know you have helped someone, when they smile back at you.
To be a leader forever, you must help others succeed.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,