It takes a special type of person to lead a $3 billion company and more than 12,000 employees. But even more so, it takes a special kind of leader to be named the #3 CEO in the world and be recognized for a people-first approach to leadership.
Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman follows a people-centric philosophy he calls Truly Human Leadership. His unique approach has influenced countless others and emphasizes many of the soft skills that will be required for successful future leaders.
I love what Bob said here: “We imagine a society where people think of others first and where people feel cared for. When they feel cared for, they care for others. Our model of leadership fosters environments where people feel valued, and when they feel valued they go home and treat their spouses well and their children well. By creating better jobs through more caring working environments, we can create a better world.”
Leaders have the potential to create a better world, simply by making people feel cared for and valuing them. But how do we really make that happen?
As part of the research for my new book, The Future Leader, I interviewed more than 140 CEOs around the world. You can learn more and get a copy of the book with all of the insights and research at GetFutureLeaderBook.com. Bob’s name kept coming up as a leader other leaders admire, and my interview with him showed why.
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Bob shared so many great insights during our interview. I’ve narrowed them down to four key takeaways of how leaders can value their people and create a better world.
Practice empathetic listening
Bob says empathetic listening is the basis of being a good leader and caring about people. Without empathetic listening, you can’t be a truly human leader. Empathetic listening means taking an interest in what people are sharing and putting yourself into their shoes to understand their point of view. Empathy drives a sense that the leader is there to create a better future for each person.
Genuinely care about people
The best leaders recognize that every person is different and has unique motivations, skills, and challenges. Genuinely taking an interest in people and caring about them creates a more caring world. But Bob is quick to say that caring doesn’t always equal nice. Similar to parenting, leadership means being a steward of peoples’ lives and having a positive impact.
Create a vision for the future
People look to leaders for guidance for the future. Where are you going? Why do you want to go there? How will you get there? When employees feel valued and appreciated, they will follow a leader’s vision for the future. That means the leader needs to move people to a better place than they were before. Creating a vision for the future is about more than just increasing the company’s bottom line. It means looking at how people have grown and how the company has improved overall to be better than it was when it started.
Recognize and celebrate people
Employees want to know they matter. One of the best ways to do that is to recognize great progress and effort made by people. It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top celebration and it certainly shouldn’t seem rote. A meaningful word or note of appreciation from a leader can make a difference. Bob says that daily acts that allow people to feel valued and share their gifts fully creates a caring environment and encourages people to return home to be good stewards in their own families and personal lives.
Empathetic leaders who care can make a world of difference. I agree with Bob that leaders truly can impact the world and make it a better place. These four tips from Bob are a great starting point for leaders of all kinds to value their people and improve their environments.
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