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Positive Inspirational Leadership Stories

What I Know About People

One of the things that characterized the leadership of Mary Kay Ash and contributed greatly to her success was the fact that she valued the individual worth of people. This concept wasn't just a corporate slogan for the cosmetics company that bears her name; it was the way she lived her life.

This remarkable lady started her company as a way to provide women with an unlimited opportunity for personal and financial success. Why did she have that goal? Because she valued people. To her, everybody was somebody. And in the end, that's what made her a success. Thinking about this philosophy that was so much a part of Mary Kay's life brought to mind a few truths that I have discovered about people over the years. Here are five key principles that will help you understand the people you lead and help you lead them more effectively.

1. Everybody wants to be somebody

Isn't that true? Everybody wants to accomplish something. They want to have some worth. They want a little recognition and they certainly want some affirmation.

2. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care

I say this often; in fact, you've probably read it before in this e-newsletter (Leadership Wired), but it's worth repeating because it's so important. If you want to touch people and change lives, you have to touch them relationally first. Don't tell them what you know. You don't impress them with your knowledge; you impress them with your compassion.

3. Everybody needs somebody

Every so often, I come across someone who says, 'I don't need anybody. I'm independent; I'm a self-made man or woman.'  When people tell me this, they think I'm going to congratulate them. But I don't. In fact, my reaction is just the opposite. You can't achieve greatness by yourself. So if you've done something all by yourself, you haven't done much at all.

4. Anybody who helps somebody influences a lot of somebodies

When you help someone, you're not only helping that person. Either directly or indirectly, you're also helping everyone within that person's sphere of influence. The power of influence always adds and multiplies.

5. Today, somebody will rise up and become somebody

This was one of Mary Kay's foundational understandings. Because she believed so strongly in the individual worth of every person, she could see your value before you saw it yourself. She could latch onto your potential before you ever bought into it. That's just how she was. It's part of what made her a great leader.

You may not achieve the kind of name recognition that Mary Kay realized in her lifetime, but if you take these five ideas to heart and act accordingly, you will greatly increase your chances of succeeding - as a leader and in all your other roles.

Written by Dr John C. Maxwell

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired'

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