Over the past few weeks I have seen an uptick in the prevalence and promotion of Socially Good causes in the social media landscape. Whether around supporting friends in the Northeast enduring Hurricane Irene, feeding the poor, or just taking a moment to tell those closest to you that you care, I have note let these words go unnoticed.
At first glance, some of these issues may seem a bit sensationalized depending on the subject at hand. However, the ongoing exposure to this social consciousness has resonated with me and has inspired me to be positive and aim for even greater authenticity. What is even more impressive is the positive difference it has helped me see in others.
One of the drawbacks of becoming well versed in life is that it can make us cynical ~ if we allow it. This cynicism makes us wise, but sometimes it makes us rigid or perhaps even callous. As leaders this must be avoided at all cost because wisdom alone is never enough. We must do, and in doing we must continue learning.
In this particular case, my version of doing is to apply the teachings of socially good causes to leadership because this is a subject in which I am always the student. Here are four ways in which I connect the dots of leadership and social good.
Drives Reflection and Humility
Creates Genuine Empathy:
A leaders is constantly tasked with moving morale upward. During both difficult and bountiful times, the leader seeks to keep the people happy which, in returns yields higher productivity and a more pleasant experience. In watching campaigns for social good, I see the value in positivity during dark moments. Seeking and lending support brings teams and the community together. This higher morale translates to better outcomes; something every leader strives for.
To lead you must be authentic. Any sign that your words lack depth and meaning and your followers will run for the hills. Within Social Causes it is the same. People will not put up with the use of adversity to garner short term gains or to gamify some type of benefit. The causes that I have seen create strong influence and continued buzz I have seen no signs of anything but a genuine desire to help.
Leaders must be self aware and humble. This can only be accomplished by seeing our own humanity and understanding that regardless of our locus of control their are circumstances that humble us. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Famine, and other causes that drive social good are grave reminders of this. Neither the strongest nor the smartest person alive is immune to these forces so we may as well take these hardships for ourselves and/or those we know and choose to learn from them.
Do you really seek to understand others? As leaders we try to believe that is the case, but when we are under fire or trying to be the foundation of our organization we can lose sight of this. Watching the way give themselves for others during adverse times has been a fantastic way to see the power of empathy. Even if it is only short lived.
As you reflect on the ideas above, may this quote serve as a reminder of the power of Social Leadership…
“You must use whatever gifts you have to help other people accomplish their dreams. If you help other people get what they want, you’ll have all the influence you’ll need.” ~Unknown
Extending the power behind good business practice is an important, and critical, way to support social good. As leaders, it is crucial to set the example to foster caring that goes beyond the walls of an organization and to encourage a philanthropic culture. Empathy engenders good will and helps people to grow, fostering camaraderie and building stronger teams. As a leader, it should be an imperative to facilitate a spirit of genuine concern for the trials that affect the global community. What is your leadership doing to help your people help others?