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Four Ways To Prove You Care About Those You Lead

Because Selflessness is a habit, we can learn to care about the people we lead.

“You can tell he really cares about people.” My son shared this with me after we had dinner with my West Point classmate, Mike and his wife. Mike spent the majority of the evening asking my son, Jake, questions. They covered everything from Jake’s career goals to college football thoughts. Mike didn’t ask the questions in order to set up an opportunity to give his own opinion. He quizzed Jake because he truly cared about what Jake had to say.

Mike’s example has stuck with me. He is one of my oldest and most loyal friends. He has always cared about people. Even when we first met at age 19, Mike had a way of building trust and loyalty. But, he has taken this skill to another level. He not only cares emotionally about others, he has learned how to actionably show that he cares as well. What’s his key? He doesn’t care as much about himself.

Most of us care too much about ourselves. This becomes evident in our conversations with others. For many leaders, we are wired that way. For whatever reason, we want to be first to speak. We want to make sure our opinions are known. And, we want conversations to go our way. But, we can overcome this with some practice.

We can learn to care about the people we are called to lead. Why? Because Selflessness is a habit. Each time we put the needs of others before our own needs, desires or convenience, we complete a character rep. Just like working out, we strengthen our muscle each time we do a rep. Each time we exercise Selflessness, we take another step closer to being a selfless person—even if we were originally wired differently.

The Selflessness reps Mike practiced in his conversation with Jake, are things we each can do. Mike modeled the fact we should: