When you hear the word “generosity”, you may immediately picture your wealthy uncle who gives incredible gifts for Christmas, or maybe the sweet lady who constantly bakes goodies and brings them to your office. Generosity doesn’t have as much to do with having a lot to offer as it does being grateful for what you have. There is no better way to show your gratitude than to be generous.
I want to be generous in every area of my life. That includes being generous in my role as a leader. But what does that look like? Here are four steps you can take toward becoming a generous leader.
- Be generous with your time – Availability is the number one way you can be generous as a leader. In today’s rushed society filled with tweets and texts, nothing shows more care toward your team than being willing to give them your time. Leave time in your schedule to grab a cup of coffee with a team member, or simply leave the door to your office open to signal to your team that they are welcome to stop in. Invite someone over for dinner in your home, or have that 5 minute conversation instead of rushing out the door right away. The result? A team that feels valued and respected.
- Be generous with your resources – As you lead, you gain access to resources that others may not have the same access to. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that people need to “earn” the right to those resources. Instead, choose to be generous with them. Whether the resource is information, physical supplies, or finances, don’t keep it to yourself. This may sound silly, but I purposely learned to drink black coffee so I could be more generous. How does black coffee translate into generosity? I knew that if I spent less on my own coffee, I could treat someone on my team to a specialty coffee. And I always wanted to be able to honor my team by covering the cost of their beverage when we went out for a meeting.
- Be generous with your praise and encouragement – Praise and encouragement should be doled out in large doses, not held back and metered out in tiny bites. Praise commends a team member for a job well done. It may be difficult at times to find something to praise, but if you change your perspective to praising them for who they are and not necessarily what they do, you will always be able to find a reason to praise them. Encouragement, on the other hand, is speaking truth into a person’s life whether they did a good job or a bad job. Encouragement can breathe life into an otherwise bleak situation. A generous leader gives both freely.
- Be generous with vision and direction – A generous leader does not leave his team guessing what’s next. He provides clear direction and vision for his team, because he knows it’s not important if he arrives at the destination, it’s important that the team arrives there! Take the opportunity to speak the vision into every situation that you can. Your team may follow you simply because you are their leader, but once they adopt the vision for themselves, they will be able to succeed with or without you as their leader. Which, ultimately, should be our goal as leaders. ( For more on vision, you can read Cloudy with a Chance of Vision or Extraordinary Leadership Part 2.)
As a leader, I have already received so much more than I think I could ever give back. I am grateful for that, so I am determined to follow these steps to becoming a generous leader!