Many people mistakenly believe being a leader is a matter of asserting “I am this” or “I am that.” Actually, the real worth of a leader is what he/she helps others to feel about themselves as members of the team. As the result of using a sharing-caring style of leadership, the leader should help each member of the team to feel four crucially important things:
- “I am needed” by my team and organization.
- “I am productive” on my team.
- “I am unique” in the contributions I make to the team.
- “I am appreciated” by my team.
Unless the leader uses a sharing style, these “I ams” will not be present to a healthy extent. Team members won’t feel particularly needed or productive be a leader who is hesitant to share work through delegation. They won’t feel unique if the leader asks everyone on the team to do the same work or to make similar contributions. Team members certainly won’t feel appreciated unless the leader shares his or her feelings openly when a job is well done. Sharing is perhaps the best way to build team unity and morale.
A Sharing-Caring Audit
What does it really mean to be a sharing, caring leader? The following checklist identifies many of the most important characteristics of the sharing leader. Place a check by each item that characterizes your leadership style:
____ 1. Knowing the personal side of team members.
____ 2. Encouraging team members.
____ 3. Sharing your time with members of the team on a one-to-one basis.
____ 4. Doing some of the unenjoyable teamwork yourself and delegating the more enjoyable work to team members.
____ 5. Expressing your inner feelings and thoughts with team members.
____ 6. Accepting your share of the blame for team problems or failures.
____ 7. Listening to others.
____ 8. Creating unique serving opportunities for individual team members.
Share your responses to the checklist with the members of your service team. Do they agree with how you filled it out? What items do you want to work on more? How can the members of your team assist you?
Phil Van Auken