Are You a Wealthy or Bankrupt Leader?

smiling man reading book while holding mug

(Photo by Austin Distel)

 “What do you mean wealthy or bankrupt, Bob?” you are likely asking. Well, let me share with you that more than a few times in my life I’ve acted like a bankrupt leader and my experience would suggest that many others have as well. It’s more about alignment. And besides, we are all leaders in our lives, right?

I am not talking about financial bankruptcy or wealth, but rather the emotional or spiritual kind. Yes, I was stingy, not sharing much of myself, tightly holding onto my gains, and constantly borrowing from my past while working and trying so hard to create a positive future. Things always seemed like a struggle and people would seldom react in quite the manner that I had hoped. In truth, my emotional bank account was running on empty or sometimes overdrawn if you will. However, when I changed to a state of “Thanks-giving” and abundance, my bank accounts magically swelled beyond imagination.

No doubt you’ve worked for a Machiavellian-type leader, scheming, competitive, angry, or stingy. The fact that you’re working for them might suggest that they’re successful, but wait. What kind of longevity can they expect? What kind of quality of life and health might they have? In business, people more often do business with people they respect and like, so would you bet on these people’s long-term success? Probably not, in fact they may be privately miserable. Don’t let their fears and insecurities rub off on you.

Being a wealthy leader is only as good as your most recent past and current moment. When I compare myself against others, hold resentment or grudges, operate from fear, scarcity, or anger, I take myself out of alignment with my best self and my emotional net wealth slides quickly, no make that instantly into insolvency. Conversely, when you are operating from a position of giving generosity, appreciation, excitement and enthusiasm, trust, and love, you are creating huge leadership assets. The best news is that you can change in an instant.

You can become a wealthy leader in any moment you choose. What I am talking about is essentially whether or not you are operating as a love or fear-based individual. You can do all the explaining you want to justify your current position, but it all boils down to what kind of leadership energy are you putting forth?

Even though you may feel that the world we live in wants to always take, you also have the capacity to give endlessly. Your resources are unlimited. Truly wealthy leaders are generous because they intuitively understand this and they give. They give of their time, their ideas, their attention, praise, and loving counsel. They coach, listen, and are not afraid to show their vulnerability. That doesn’t mean they can’t be tough and stern at time, but deep down they are givers. They realize that holding grudges or resentments are emotional liabilities and that anger, fear, and the like will bankrupt them or anyone else.

Yes, the common thread among wealthy leaders is that they exercise their ability to be generous with the people around them – and we all have that ability. When I realized this unlimited potential to give, my career immediately began to take off. Yours can as well.

I suggest that you take some quiet time to reflect what kind of emotional bank account you are carrying with you to work. Maybe sharing some praise, more gentle coaching, making time for others, or better listening attention could pay huge dividends for you too. The more we give away, the more and quicker we can become a fabulously wealthy leader in all areas of our life. Try it!

P.S. Often leaders I counsel can make such instant progress and become so enthusiastic with this concept that they want me to put together a program for all their employees to adopt this. Like so many life lessons applied to leadership and organizations, you can’t force what you’ve just gained onto others. When they are ready, their teacher will appear. Your example of “new leadership” may just subtly be that new teacher – far better than a “new program handed down from the top.” Remember the well-used saying of “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


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