When you think about the qualities of great leaders, you might think about the importance of having vision. Great leaders need to think about where the group wants to go and the best way to get there. They also need to be able to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and make decisions.

But ultimately, leadership is about relationships. It’s about the connection between leaders and the people who follow them. Indeed, you can’t be a leader without followers. Leadership is a group process.

So if you want to be a great leader, you have to build a strong connection with your employees. You have to care about the people you’re leading.

According to author Jeff Haden, if leaders simply make announcements, talk about company goals, and give orders, their employees will nod their heads in agreement and then go back to doing their work the way they always have in the past. In contrast, if leaders demonstrate that they truly care about their employees, the employees will do anything to help their leaders accomplish their goals.

So how can you let your employees know that you care? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Listen to your employees’ thoughts, ideas, and concerns. You should also try to act on those ideas when it makes sense to do so.
  • Get to know your employees as people. Try to go beyond polite small talk and learn something about their interests and activities outside of work.
  • Don’t be scary. Talk and behave in an approachable manner so your employees will feel comfortable interacting with you.
  • Show emotion. You don’t have to be stoic to be an effective leader. If you’re feeling happy, sympathetic, or sad, it’s fine to express those emotions. It will help your employees to see you as human and relatable.
  • Don’t be quick to judge others. If an employee makes a mistake, don’t immediately form a negative perception of that person. Instead, take the time to give the employee some helpful feedback and a little support.
  • Demonstrate positive behaviors. Be engaged, work hard, and make an effort to be positive and upbeat. Your employees will see the way you behave, and appreciate your efforts. It will also encourage them to behave in a similar manner.


Haden, J. (2016, December 22). Want to be a great leader? Do this 1 thing first (most bosses do the opposite). Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/want-to-be-a-great-leader-do-this-one-thing-first-most-bosses-do-the-opposite.html


Phillips, A. (2014, August 26). Want to be a better leader? Show employees you care. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236806