Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
It isn't every day that a planet is formed or a spaceship lands in Mississippi or someone walks on water. But I've started asking people that question. I don't have a lot of results in yet, but there are only about 4 different answers you can give: never, once, a few times, or all the time. Where does your response fall?
What do you see?
Character-based leaders should see miracles all the time. Just look in the mirror. Life is a miracle. Human life an even bigger miracle. But it's so common, with billions of people alive on the planet, sometimes we take that life for granted.
Character-based leaders lead from who they are. Their character and their ability inspire others to join them and contribute their energy freely toward a team goal or objective. They serve people in pursuit of a common goal.
How do you view people?
People are much less likely to be inspired or to contribute toward an effort spearheaded by someone who views them as a replaceable cog. If you can't appreciate your people for who they are, you don't understand character. When you don't appreciate people, you can only appreciate effort. You become a task manager. You focus on what they do and eventually, you will often think only about their shortcomings. You'll become quite a sourpuss because you will constantly focus on what you don't have - perfect team members. Your discontent will make it difficult for anyone to actually contribute effort over and above the pure minimum and your misery will be caught and redistributed by everyone else on the team.
Contrast that with the leader who considers each person a miracle. If you're that person, you will appreciate and value their unique and diverse individual contributions to the effort. You will focus on learning about your teammates. You will remember and enforce accomplishments and behaviors that are important to them. You'll know their story, help them overcome their mistakes, and inspire them to bring their best effort to the team. Your teammates will begin to self-develop and appreciate others as well, increasing team energy and effort. They will pass along your appreciation to other team members, even eventually adding their own. The appreciation and the energy becomes exponential.
You make your team successful, maybe even less by who you hire and more by what you value. We all know stories like Hoosiers and Miracle where the underdogs achieved the impossible. Appreciating people is the first step. Decide right now that everyone you interact with today is a miracle. You're the reporter. Enjoy people. Treasure the miracle around you and watch your team take off.
Photos Mars the Mysterious by nasa1fan/MSFC and Girl in Mirror © Hallgerd – Fotolia.com