Leaders who have a generous spirit are more memorable
I come from a family of people with a generous spirit. This has very little to do with money, even though they would give their last if circumstances required it. Having a generous spirit can sometimes be inherent and sometimes it is a way of being which is learned or uncovered. For me, I can’t remember any time my family wasn’t consistently generously spirited with me. As the youngest of 5 perhaps it was one of the biggest advantages of being the “baby” of the family.
I have met generously spirited people outside of my family and they are always noticeable, in that they are mainly quietly confident, have kind eyes and are usually wise. I have worked with many bosses, and although I respect a lot of them for the variety of skills they were expert in, the ones who I would describe as generous in spirit have been few and far between. They are the leaders I remember.
Leaders who I’ve worked with, who have a generous spirit have some or all of the following characteristics.
1. Believe you can achieve anything you truly desire
When you suggest at 20lbs overweight you want to take part in the Ironman triathlon, they look you in the eye and say, “You can do it”. If you want to sing, and you have the sort of voice that makes the dog put its paws over its ears, they will tell you “If you really put your mind to it, and get some good voice training, who knows?”
2. Notice the unique skills and gifts you bring to the team
They are able to give a personalised account of how you contribute to the success of the team, whether results are achieved or not. They have noticed what you do sufficiently to be able to understand exactly how you uniquely contribute, and they love telling you. They take the time to find out your “out of work” activities and skills so they can find out if you can add value through these attributes.
3. Give you the benefit of the doubt
When things go wrong, they understand people make mistakes. They always choose the lens with the most positive perspective and by doing so; demonstrate they believe the best in you. They forgive your mistakes, and trust you will learn from them.
4. Want the best for you in any given situation
They will not play victim with you because they know you are stronger than that, but they will pray for you, hope for you and be with you when things are tough. When difficult choices have to be made they want you to honour yourself and to have the best outcome for you and anyone else involved. They are always silently “hoping for the best” for you.
5. Love it when you have something to celebrate
They don’t let jealousy or sour grapes affect their delight in your good news. They are astute enough not to rain on your parade. When you get that job, or the accolade, or mention or reward, they are genuinely delighted for you from the heart. You can tell they are sincerely pleased for you when their eyes are smiling when they congratulate you.
6. Are your biggest cheerleader even when you have to move on and away from them
They think the best of you; want the best for you; and know the best of you, and this never changes. They are a consistent fan of yours whether you are physically in their team or not.
So there’s my list of characteristics of generously spirited people. What other traits of a generous spirit have you experienced? Do these traits enhance leadership ability?