To Know Me is to Lead Me


Do you see me?

Or do you see a label?

Job title.





Do you care about me?

Do you care about things I care about?

Do you care to make my life better?

Do you give me something worthwhile to believe in?

Do you give me something worthwhile to be part of?

Do you give me a goal I can aspire to?

Before you go labeling this as the childish rant of a self-centered (fill-in-the-generation) er, consider that you are probably asking the same questions. We all do. We may use more high-minded language but at the core we are all concerned with our own well-being, our future, our happiness.

Yes, the real question is…

What’s in this for me?

You won’t get to we until you connect with me.

  • Get to know my story
  • Find out what inspires me
  • Give me reasons to trust you
  • Show faith in me
  • Let me use my gifts
  • Connect me to a bigger story

The contract is changing.

People are becoming less willing to sacrifice a significant portion of their life doing meaningless work in a soul-sucking environment to collect a paycheck so they can spend the leftover time on the things they care about and enjoy.

Life is too short.

If you want people to share their hearts, their creativity, engagement, attention and commitment you have to be willing to go first.

Take the time to appreciate that the people in our organization are struggling to make a life. They are dealing with all the fears, plans, dreams, and struggles that you do.

They’re looking for answers. Looking for options. Looking for connections. Looking for a better future.

Show them a bridge to what’s possible.

When you bring out the best in people.

They’ll bring out the best in you.

And together you’ll bring out the best in the organization.

For more on this topic check out this article from the  Harvard Business Review .





  1. I love this stunning piece! A poetic challenge to those in leadership that does not know the difference between a boss and a true leader….


    1. Thank you, TJ. I appreciate your encouraging feedback. Definitely agree that one of the differences between a boss and leader can be that personal connection.


  2. Excellent perspective. Life is all about is given & Take.
    Thanks for sharing


    1. Thank you, Sarfraz. Good point. There is definitely an aspect of give and take in the leader / follower relationship. To often the emphasis is on taking.


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