English Poet John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island.”
As leaders, there are two powerful ways this truth impacts us.
First, continuing our theme from the last two posts, there are five things that we can know are true about every person in the world. We’ve already discussed the truth that everybody wants to be somebody, and that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Third is this: Everybody needs somebody.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that has grown increasingly isolated. Neighbors do not know neighbors. Members of churches barely know their fellow members. Co-workers have “friendships” that are barely surface deep.
But the basic human need for relationship and for connection remains.
If we, as leaders, will recognize the power we have to be engaged in people’s lives and be a connection point, we can build significant influence. Be genuinely concerned about your people. Talk to them about their families, their wellbeing, their hopes, and their concerns. Be a sounding board and a mentor.
Everybody needs somebody. If you are willing to be that somebody, few venues in your town will be able to hold your funeral because they’ll come from everywhere to grieve your passing.
There is a secondary way that this truth impacts us. If it’s true that everybody needs somebody, and that no man is an island, guess who fits into that “everybody” group? That’s right. You do.
There’s an old saying, “it’s lonely at the top.” Whoever said that was not a leader. They were a mountain climber.
Leadership is not about sitting on high and speaking down to the “minions” from the mountain top. Leadership is about journeying with your people and bringing them to the mountaintop. And any leader that thinks they can get to the top alone is fooling himself.
We NEED people in our life, and in our inner circle. One of the most significant things that I ever heard said was by my mentor, John Maxwell. Dr. Maxwell said that the most important decision he ever made in business was to give significant focus to the development of his inner circle. He said that he had made a huge mistake until he reached his forties of not doing that, and when he made the change, his business and his career took off like never before. Wow! John C. Maxwell, number one best-selling leadership guru of all time not only needed others, but said that focusing on having an inner circle was the biggest thing he ever did in business? That’s huge.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
I recommend that everyone I mentor have at least three relationships in their life. First, you need someone who is your covering. You need a coach and a mentor. You need someone who can say the hard things to you, kick you in the butt from time to time, but also pick you up, dust you off, and get you headed in the right direction as well. Second, you need a peer who you can trust and confide in. You need a friend on the path with you. There was a reason the disciples were sent out two by two. Last, you need someone that you are mentoring and coaching. You’ll learn more by coaching than you ever will by being coached.
Make a point in the next several months to initiate any of those three that you are lacking. Then stay the course.
Everybody needs somebody. This can be a catalyst for your leadership.
- Be that somebody. Your influence will grow.
Have that somebody. No one can do this alone. That includes you.