When you think of success, the first association to come to mind is probably not generosity, a term we think of in relation to giving to charity or picking up a lunch check.
Being a generous leader isn't about any of that, but something that's both more meaningful and less measurable.
Leaders who are motivated by their own success tend to measure their achievements in terms of money, power, status, achievement, and recognition.
But the most significant leaders hold themselves up to different standards: their empowerment of others, their service, their relationships.
Generous leaders give on every level.
They're generous with their money, their time, their energy, their talents--with everything they have. They're never content to do what's expected, but look every day for a way to do more. Their generosity is built into their being, not an event but a habit.
Here are 10 things you can do to guide yourself toward becoming a more generous leader.
1. Be mindful of your attention. It's easy to become so focused on the big-picture abstract that you neglect the people who are right there in front of you. Make the time to genuinely connect with people.
2. Share your gifts. Whether you have a wealth of wisdom built through years of experience or the cutting-edge knowledge and energy of youth, spend time sharing it with those around you. Find a way to spread what you know.
3. Be liberal with your time. It's natural to want to be protective of your time, especially when it feels like there already aren't enough hours in the day. But when you slow down to be unhurried and present in your daily interactions, the benefits are huge.
4. Show people you consider them important. Choose words and actions that will let those around you know that you consider their work and life significant. Nothing goes further in building strong teams and organizations than for people to feel appreciated.
5. Stand up for your people. Show you're on their side with support and assistance when they need it, individually or collectively. The yield is long-term loyalty, trust, commitment, and positive morale.
6. Be lavish with acknowledgments. Publicly celebrate every success as a group achievement, and be quick to call out both personal accomplishments and group efforts.
7. Delegate. Most of us want things done right, which means giving up control is hard. Remember that delegating worthwhile work turns it into a gift of development and growth for someone else.
8. Give opportunity. Is there someone who needs a second chance? If so, how can you create the right circumstances for them to succeed? What doors can you open for someone who is deserving, but not well positioned to be noticed? Serve others by helping them achieve their goals.
9. Lead with communication. Build trust by communicating openly and sharing information freely in every situation. Make sure people know what they need to know to be successful, and foster communication as a two-way street.
10. Look for opportunities to be generous--and act on them. Generous leaders seek out those who have a need and then act to meet that need.
Become a generous leader by giving all the good you can, by all the means you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can.