September 21, 2015
Guest Blogger: Mike Henry Sr. on Investing in Helping Others #NoCapeNeeded
"No Cape Needed: The Simplest, Smartest, Fastest Steps to Improve How You Communicate by Leaps and Bounds,” is now available for purchase. Below is one of the leadership advice pieces that are featured in the book. These pieces offer the best advice industry leaders have received in their careers and are a must-read for those wanting to elevate their own performance at work.
Invest effort into helping people – we have to allow others to win before we can win.
I was working for my father’s trucking company early in my career, and I wasn’t happy. I felt like a failure, stuck in the family business with no place to go. It seemed the longer I worked there, the less intelligent everyone seemed. I was unable to appreciate the people around me. They weren’t as educated as I was and I thought I knew more than they did. I seemed mean or angry all the time. No one really wanted anything to do with me.
One day my father asked me why I was so difficult. “Why don’t you invest a little effort into helping people?” he told me. “You should give people a reason to like you. You are a naturally likeable guy, but you’ve been a real jerk lately. People do a better job if they like being around you than they’ll ever do for a mean, angry, sour-puss. You could be so much better if you weren’t so hard to be around.” I had recently become a Christian and Dad’s advice really struck a chord. My goal had been to get everyone to do what I wanted but then I thought about what would happen if I actually focused on others and not on myself?
Over time, I became more aware of my attitude and I wasn’t very proud of it. Because of Dad’s advice (or criticism) and my new understanding of my purpose and my faith, I adopted a new goal: to know and help the people around me. I developed a genuine interest and concern for others. Over time, I realized everyone else wasn’t “unintelligent” but rather they had a different perspective on things. Sometimes their perspective was better than mine, and sometimes we informed each other. Once I started seeing others as valuable people, work became more enjoyable, and I became more influential. Once I started helping everyone else be successful in their job, I saw that their success determined the success of the company – and of my job too.
Years later, I heard the leadership coach and writer, John C. Maxwell, say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Every job since then, I’ve tried to serve the people around me, making them successful and helping them in any way I can. The person who brings grace and a smile into a situation is always contagious, and there is influence, growth and achievement for all. We have to allow others to win before we can win. I’m grateful to my dad for investing in me and having the painful conversation that made the biggest difference in my leadership and career.
About Mike Henry Sr.
Mike Henry Sr. is VP of Information Technology for a mid-sized technology company based in Tulsa, OK. He's also the founder of the Lead Change Group, a global online community committed to instigating a character-based leadership revolution, and he's one of 21 co-authors of the book The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution... One Person at a Time. Mike's passion is elevating purpose and mobilizing people and he enjoys writing, speaking and talking about the power of an individual to make a positive difference. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at his blog at http://mikehenrysr.com.
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