Biz Leadership: leadership, understood

By Karl Zimmer

In the previous five articles, I introduced and further explored a new paradigm of leadership, which I refer to as, “conscious leadership.” The formula for this new paradigm is represented by the acronym RULE®, which stands for Respect, Understand, Love, and Enjoy. In the last article, I revealed the first element of the formula, Respect, which I explained can be defined by the phrase, “Treat others the way that they would like to be treated.” In this article, I am revealing the second element of RULE® which is, Understand.

Many people may interpret the word, “Understand,” to infer agreement, and that would be inaccurate in the context of RULE®. For our use, we need not agree in order to understand. For instance, I may not agree with someone who holds a different belief than I do, but what I can understand is that their belief is as important to them as my belief is to me. As long as I am in that space of understanding, I can be respectful, and I can be more open to discussion and finding common ground, as can they.

It is better for all concerned when we discuss and work toward agreement on issues rather than taking positions, which tend to be more ego based. When we seek to understand, which is much easier when dealing with issues, we are more open to listening, which allows the other party to feel heard. Everyone wants and needs to feel heard. When someone feels unheard, they often feel marginalized or disrespected, which will never foster an environment conducive to organizational success. As a leader, you have a responsibility to listen to those you lead. One of my favorite quotes is, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” Jimi Hendrix said that, and he was right. You can learn much more by listening than you ever will by speaking.

When we show respect for others, and when we demonstrate our desire to understand their needs and wants, we gain their respect and their desire to follow our leadership. That desire to follow your leadership allows the other person to contribute with enthusiasm because they feel valued and know that they have a place and purpose in the success of the organization.

In the next article, I will introduce the third element of RULE®, which is, “Love.” What does that have to do with leadership and business? Stay tuned. This column is dedicated to sharing experiences, research, and ideas about great leaders. By following along with these articles, you will learn how practicing the formula represented by RULE® can propel you to living a more joyful life as well as leading your organization to achieving greater success.