Les Giblin says, “You can’t make someone feel important in your presence if you secretly feel they are a nobody.” It’s the secret place in a persons heart that determines the value of another human being. As leaders, we may know all the right things to say, but we don’t always have the right heart condition when we say it. Underneath our words is a secret place in our hearts where we store our agenda, our prejudices, our judgments, and our beliefs about people. You may think you can fool people into thinking you care about them, but if you don’t care about them, all that really does is make you look like a fool. We are a well read society. We have more self improvement information available to us than in any other time in history. Thousands of books, websites, audios, videos, etc., on how to lead and value people. That information has allowed us to craft a covering to how we really see people.
I often wonder why our country, our organizations, our schools, our social media, etc., are filled with so much animosity toward other people. Why is bullying on the rise? Why are political parties at odds with each other? Why do organizations have high turn over? Why are some families at odds with each other? Because we don’t have a leadership problem in this country, we have a heart problem. Saying the right thing, doesn’t always mean we have the right heart when we say it. People know if you are saying one thing but really mean something else. I call it “the secret place”. It’s the seemingly “silent but deadly effect” we have on people and it comes from that secret place in our hearts. That particular secret place is where relationships begin or end, depending on the depths of its ugliness. People will eventually see whatever it is that’s brewing on the inside of our hearts.
There was a leader of an organization I worked with some time ago who wanted me to come and teach basic leadership and mindset concepts to their employees. These employees were fantastic clients and I saw a lot of growth in their relationships, leadership, and mindset over the few months I worked with them. Their leader however, refused to make any changes to their leadership or the way they spoke to their employees. This individuals gruff nature was off putting at best and often deflated the energy in the room. It was not uncommon for this person to go off on an angry tirade and leave a wake of crushed souls in their path.
This organization had seasons where they were busier than others. We took about a six month break in training so they could focus on their work. When I returned they had assured me that they had tried to make effective changes and their relationships as a team had experienced a lot of improvement; however, I was saddened to hear that their leader hadn’t made any improvements in the way they spoke to these employees. This person often scolded them by using phrases like, “Are you stupid?!”, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”, “How f—–ing dumb can you be?!”. Now, this individual is brilliant in their industry, very talented and knowledgeable. However, their heart was full of disgust and disdain toward their people. This individual asked me once why their employees didn’t respect them. My answer was simple, “Because you’re a jerk.” This individual started to try to be nice on occasion to soothe over their abrasive nature, but their employees didn’t buy it. They knew it was just a matter of time until the day came when they would blow their top again.
John Maxwell says, “You can’t lead others until you lead yourself.” It is up to us to lead what is going inside our heart and it is up to us to clean out what’s underneath our words and actions. Too many outside influences are impacting, feeding, coddling, and molding that secret place and we don’t even know it’s happening. Social media, the news, and politics are moving in and taking up residency in our hearts. They have begun to set the standard for how we treat another human being. As leaders, parents, spouses, family members, etc., we cannot leave that “secret” place vulnerable and up for grabs. We must know how it’s impacting the people in our lives and how it’s ineffectively influencing them.
If our “secret places” show up in the way we lead people, this is how our relationships will pay the price:
1. If my secret place is critical and judgmental, my relationships will be phony.
2. If my secret place is filled with insecurity and neediness, my relationships will be inauthentic.
3. If my secret place is lazy and unmotivated, my relationships will be exhausting.
4. If my secret place is jealous, my relationships will be dramatic.
5. If my secret place is stressed and overwhelmed, my relationships are rushed.
6. If my secret place is prejudiced or racist, my relationships will be exclusive.
7. If my secret place decides to treat people according to what they deserve and not according to what they’re worth, my relationships will be inconsistent.
8. If my secret place sees people as objects, my relationships will be dehumanizing.
It’s the secret place in our heart that determines the value of another human being. Make no mistake, whatever is in your heart will show up in your words and actions. Words and actions sell you out every time. If we do want “to make another person feel important in our presence”, then by all means, clean up your “secret place” and choose to see them as important.
Here’s to seeing people as our most valuable asset.
Leadership and Mindset Coach, Speaker, and Trainer