Picking out the leader in a large team is harder than ever before. In the past, leaders dressed just a little bit more formally than others, making this guess easier. But, in today’s world, that is no longer a tell. In fact, sometimes leaders will put themselves together more informally than everyone else. However, there is one clue that always works to tell who the leader is. Just listen and watch for a short time, and you will find the leader always cares more.
Leaders care deeply about people, about team outcomes, and about the health of the organization. All of these sustain results. This caring is always evident if you look past cosmetic features. Leaders are more involved, more engaged, more intense, more focused, and more curious. You can see this caring in just about everything they do.
Of course, when a leader cares too much, they can drive people too hard and become easily agitated when others don’t care as much as they do. In fact, we often coach leaders to care a little less at times — not about the people or the team, but about why others aren’t operating exactly as they do.
Getting leaders to dial back their caring is nearly impossible; however, it is precisely this caring that defines them as leaders. As you might suspect, when we find a leader who doesn’t care more than everyone else, we commonly see a team that struggles and doesn’t care, as well. The caring a leader displays is infectious.
How much do you care?