“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

In all my years of being a member of a team, this statement has always held true. In a team each member is trying their best to not only raise their level, but to raise the level of the people around them. The people who are able to do this the best are usually labeled as leaders. Why you ask? Simply because they can capture the attention of many and make them believe that what they bring to the table is unique; they make them feel important, necessary and needed.

But how do you get to that point? While there are many ways to be a leader and everyone has their own definition, I think that it is hard to pull the best out of people when they don’t feel that you have their best interest in mind.

Think about it, if you knew that someone had full faith in your abilities, was ready to support you no matter the outcome and was completely invested in your success as well as in the success of the group, how would you feel?

It really all comes down to being genuine, and this is where most “leaders” fall short. To say you care and to actually care are two different things. Sometimes leaders have to go the extra mile to show this and to make sure that their followers know and understand their care for them.

For each leader this means something different. Maybe going the extra mile from someone is taking their colleagues out to lunch. For others it might be a candid conversation, but I feel that too often we set checklists of tangible qualities (i.e. time management, organization, etc.) that leaders should possess, and forget the intangible qualities (i.e. empathy, transparency, etc.) that are undoubtably necessary to be a successful leader.

What does it matter if you are available to your followers if they do not feel comfortable approaching you? An open door system only works if people actually walk through the door. That might mean you, as the leader, need to cross the thresh hold into the world of your followers instead of always having them come to you. Meet them half way and sometimes just go the full distance; I’m sure your relationship with them will grow tremendously after that.

What does being vocal and confident really do for anyone if they cannot see that their leader is fully invested. By fully invested I mean that the leader is ready to act upon their words if they have not already. If you do not act as an example for what you want to see, you are not a leader, you’re just bossy. Taking the time to demonstrate to your followers what you want to see carries more weight than simply telling them.

All in all, it all comes down to being genuine and good leaders are genuine; they care about the people that follow them and they show that. By doing so they empower the people around them to be the best they can be, which ultimately leads to an unstoppable and successful team.

Next time you get an opportunity to lead, don’t forget that while the logistical side of leadership is important, so is the personal side. People are going to want to do a lot more for you if they know that you care. Keep that in mind.