When I first started out as a young entrepreneur, I fancied myself a sort of “drill sergeant.” I wanted to be this hard-charging, outcome-oriented, no-pain-no-gain kind of leader in my business. I wanted to be completely responsible for my success or failure.
Several failed businesses later, I was busy beating myself up for “not having what it takes” to succeed in business. That’s when I stumbled upon a series of studies that showed most employees left because of bad bosses, not bad companies.
It never occurred to me that I was being a bad boss, but the realization hit me like a freight train. I had great people working for me in some of my businesses, but they never stayed long. Most of them claimed they couldn’t handle the pressure.
Looking back, I realized the “pressure” was me and my hard-charging style.
So one of the major changes I made on my next try was to be a more compassionate leader. And since then, I’ve had a series of happier, more successful businesses… simply because my people were also happier and more successful in their own lives.
If you feel you’re not a very compassionate man, then I’d like to share with you three of the most life-changing lessons I’ve learned about compassion. Hopefully they’ll help you every bit as much as they helped me.
Lesson #1: Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was to be kinder to myself. Back then, I was working 70-hour weeks, micromanaging every aspect of my business, and blaming myself for every failure. And I demanded the same relentlessness in my people… which led to one disaster after another.
So I started taking care of myself as well as I was taking care of my businesses. I started getting enough sleep, eating right and basically enjoying life. And whenever I screwed up (I still do), I stopped kicking myself for it, and instead learned to tell myself: “Next time, I’ll get it right.”
Lesson #2: Look Out For Your People’s Welfare
My hard-charging style with my employees was actually on-point – people need some tough love and guidance to truly thrive in the workplace. What I didn’t realize was that I failed to balance that tough love with encouragement and consideration.
If you’re in business, I suggest you do that, too. Put your business goals first, for sure, but actively find ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated. You need to be tuned in to your people’s lives.
Lesson #3: Meditate On Your Goals In Business And Life
Before, I’d have a bunch of goals, milestones, and KPI’s in my business plans. But they would lack a crucial component: The “why.” As a result, I quickly lost sight of my goals, lashed out at my employees, burned out, and ultimately gave up.
Now, I know better. Aside from my goals, I also meditate on the REASONS behind those goals. I take about 20 minutes out of my daily prayer hour to remind myself of WHY I’m in business. With the end always in mind, I’m better able to lead my teams to mutual success.
These lessons have blessed my businesses and my life immensely, and hopefully they’ll be of help to you, as well.
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