In January 2012 at the first weekly team meeting, I sat with my management team to outline plans for the new year ahead. Although this date did not coincide with our fiscal year end, the start of the calendar year always naturally brings with it an opportunity for resolutions and for renewal. I asked them to be brutally honest about the ways in which they felt I could improve my leadership skills. The ten-member management team jumped at the opportunity to offer candid, 360-degree feedback. I asked probing questions, took copious notes, and made a valiant effort to keep my pride under complete submission. Most of the team leaders left that meeting feeling refreshed, I left bloodied, bruised and limping.
Receiving an unfiltered critique from those who worked with me daily got me thinking about the difference between being liked and being respected as a leader, and the age old question of which one is more important. In my quest for answers, I came across and read the book,“Love Is the Killer App” by Tim Sanders. While many bosses and managers choose to wield power based on fear, after reading that book, I came to conclude that leaders should actively strive to be both liked and respected.
Published in 2002, this book could have been subtitled “How to Succeed in Business by Being Smarter and Nicer”. Tim Sanders writes that in the new economy people will be valued for their knowledge and their network and not seniority or pedigree. He argues that the only way to advance in today’s experience economy is by being a “love cat”, and intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles.
The intangibles Tim Sanders asks that we share are our knowledge, our network and our compassion:
Share Your Knowledge.
First, we have to put in the work necessary to accumulate enough knowledge to share, and add value to others. Books and audiobooks are the best way to get this knowledge. The author encourages using most of our free time for reading – making a commitment to review as many as one or two books per week. Tim advises that we take notes describing the book’s Big Thought, supporting ideas, and on its overall value. We can then share the knowledge by prescribing books to our contacts the way a doctor would prescribe medications to patients.
Share Your Network.
Tim advises that we become collectors of people – establishing positive and memorable interactions with as many contacts as possible, to be able to later match them with other contacts. The more positive dealings you have had with people, the more likely you are to be a winner in business. You will have the largest networks, the most powerful connections, and the ability to call in their reserves at to help provide solutions for other connections when they really need it.
Share Your Compassion.
Let people know that you care. By expressing your compassion, you create an experience that people remember. There is a tremendous opportunity for your compassion to make a difference in how people view you, and how they view themselves, because we continue to develop emotionally and spiritually throughout our entire lives. Compassion combined with knowledge and network is the way we win hearts and influence business today.
The advantages of striving to become both liked and respected:
When you take the time to build a brand, people will trust you, like you and pursue you. Be distinct or become extinct.
2. You create an experience.
The more you read, the more you know and the more fun, interesting and valuable knowledge you have to pass along. Smart companies today are using their services as props and their services as a stage to deliver a compelling experiences.
3. You have access to people’s attention.
Biz-Love helps you give others good return on attention (ROA). It means being able to supply creativity, and help give them a foundation for their business practice.
4. You harness the power of positive presumption.
People tend to presume that a proposal is a bad idea until proven otherwise. Being a love cat arms you with the trust and respect of others, so that they know we have their interests at heart.
5. You receive exceptional feedback.
Love cats have a huge advantage because relationships don’t end when the business transactions end. Biz love partners know you are genuinely interested in their success.
6. You gain personal satisfaction.
People no longer feel secure based on their length of time with a company, and find themselves not living up to their own expectations. Love cats enjoy higher levels of security because there is always genuine reciprocity available by building intangibles.
End note: If you are a developing leader who wants to get a jump-start on building a valuable knowledge base and a wide network of contacts, if you want to learn how share compassion in business, then I urge you to read “Love Is the Killer App“.