How do you get from a  mission statement or a good set of principles to a productive and loyal organization? The answer lies in your willingness and ability to be supportive. To show that you are there to get the work done and lend a hand by providing assistance whenever it is needed because you believe in the organization and people who work there. It also depends on your willingness to let your associates teach you, surprise you, and help you.

This may feel like a tall order to fulfill as a leader. Yet, it can be attainable when you focus on fine-tuning these two attributes: humility and humbleness. Leaders do not demonstrate these virtues often enough. Perhaps you think employees should feel grateful to have a good job for which they are well compensated and that they should just be appreciative of the opportunity to work with your company. In my view, humility should be mutual on the part of both the leader and associate. Let's not forget that without followers, there are no leaders.

Over the years, we have asked associates to tell us what they want and need from their leaders. What would it take to follow their leaders without hesitation? Listed below are some of their thoughts:

  1. "I would like my manager to walk in my shoes, to really understand what I go through day in and day out and how greatly the decisions he or she makes affect me."
  2. "Sometimes I feel I am viewed only as a number, but, like all people, I am human. I have love and fear in my life, but I am also filled with hope and frustrations."
  3. "I would appreciate being told the truth -- the good, the bad and the ugly."
  4. "I just want to be appreciated, listened to, and understood."
  5. "Before you make any major decisions that affect my work, could you please include me in the thought process? After all, I am closer to the work and could probably show you how to make it effective."
  6. "I will probably accept almost any change, if you would tell me why we're doing it."
  7. "Please understand that I am surviving life. I am raising a family. I pay taxes and manage a home. I make important decisions every day. Please give me credit for having a brain. I can participate in the decision-making process."
  8. "I often hear leaders ask the question, 'How do I motivate my staff?' I usually answer, 'stop trying to!' Instead, just be you, just be authentic, just share who you are and I will be motivated."
  9. "To be really successful, understand that we need each other to reach our goals. And you need me as me just as much as I need you."
  10. "I wish that general managers, regional managers and on up would show more concern for department heads and staff. More often than not, I've been turned away by my general manager, because she's 'too busy' or 'has a phone call coming.' Our regional manager keeps canceling property visits, so we can't even discuss our needs with anyone. I wish this company would just go back to being itself instead of trying to be so important."

As you can see from these comments, these associates are not asking for much. In fact, the message is quite simple. They want their leaders to do what is right. That is, to be authentic, trustworthy, and lead in a heart-centered way.