By: Christopher Orozco, Team Member Relations Manager

My father recently told me an emotional story regarding a trip to the park with my son. He noticed that my son quickly made a new friend, and they were enjoying a beautiful morning on the playground. What stood out to me, however, was what my father overheard during their time playing together. My son asked his newfound friend where he lived. The answer was heartbreaking; he responded he did not have a home. After talking more with his friend’s mother, my father learned that this family was homeless.

This heartbreaking story reminded me of several things. I’m reminded of one of the most powerful lessons that my parents taught me, and that’s not to be selfish, and to help others in need when we have the capacity to do so. I’m also reminded of the power of listening. To listen to the needs of others, and to find ways we can help make a difference in someone’s life. As leaders, we have the opportunity to put these lessons into action every single day.

There are so many people that are at a disadvantage, and can greatly benefit from the gift of generosity from those who have something to give. To give to the less fortunate is one of the most humane acts we can commit. It’s also something we should do without the expectation that we’ll get anything back in return. It’s simply an act of selflessness, and a gift that will touch someone’s life in an incredible and profound way. But we’ll often find that having an impact upon someone’s life is a powerful reward on its own. Being generous can also remind us of the many reasons we can be grateful for what we have in our lives. And gratitude is one of the keys to happiness.

As leaders, there are many ways we can intentionally put others before ourselves, and make a difference. Both inside and outside of work.

Be generous with your time. There’s no better way to invest our time than spending it with the people we’re serving. Spending time to understand who they truly are as people gives us the capability of valuing them for the individual gifts they bring to work. Every great relationship has the benefit of people investing their time in one another. This begins with genuine care for people. Leaders should be focused on the well-being of the people they’re serving, first and foremost. We cannot understand how we can approach someone’s well-being without first understanding their needs. Time may seem like it’s in short supply as the world rushes around us, but intentionally taking time to spend with people is a great investment. Leadership is often about listening to others, rather than having others listen to us. Take the time to sit, listen, and understand the needs of others.

Be generous with praise. Something that never goes out of style, and is consistently powerful for everyone, is knowing the work we did is valued and appreciated. What makes this suggestion even more applicable is that there are so many ways for us to express our appreciation to the people we’re serving. Every day is an opportunity to be generous with our praise. Work well done deserves recognition, and recognition is often free to give. Praise is an extension of love, and love is free and sustainable. Praise, at any given time, has the power to change a life. It instills confidence in others, and renews a belief in their own talent. When someone believes in us, our eyes are opened to possibilities that suddenly become realistic. Praise is a powerful motivator for others to keep pursuing their dreams and invest their energy in a new tomorrow.

Be generous with your talent. Leadership calls for us to positively influence the lives of others. But leadership is never about gaining followers. Great leadership is about creating other leaders, and empowering them to become creators of their own destiny. Like many others, the generosity of others that have freely shared their talent with me has given me the gift of living a life I love. It’s on us to pay this generosity forward. We all have our own innate gifts and talents; let’s be selfless and share our wisdom with others. We can use what we’ve learned to inspire others, and help them take that next step towards turning a dream into a reality. Knowledge and wisdom are gifts that are too great to be kept for ourselves.

Be generous with your resources. This can be the most difficult to do, and I truly understand that. But there are so many ways that we can give to others, especially during this time of year. Whether we’re talking about monetary donations, or used goods that can be of benefit to others, there are several ways we can be generous with our resources. What may be something that is old and of no use to us now, can suddenly become a life-changing gift to someone else. Being charitable through selflessness can change lives. And there are many organizations that can help facilitate this giving to those in need.

The story of my son making a new friend that happened to be homeless reminds me there are people out there that are in desperate need of help. This post is about leadership as much as it is about simply being good to others. And really, a great leader sets out to simply be good to others. That’s the calling of great leadership. That’s where the impact takes place. I encourage everyone, myself included, to seek out ways that we can listen, and to intentionally make a difference in someone’s life. Today, tomorrow, and every day after that.

For more from Christopher Orozco please check out his blog “Create, Life and Leadership By Design.” 


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