Meeting Needs

He would give someone the shirt off his back before they knew they needed it.

These words came to mind as we celebrated the life of my wife’s grandfather a couple weeks ago.

Do you know the feeling you get when you need help but you’re not sure what it could be? Then, suddenly, someone is there giving you exactly what you needed. Or, perhaps, you know the feeling from the opposite vantage point: you can tell someone needs help before they realize it.

Leaders meet needs. They stay above the line where they take responsibility for their words and behaviors. The alternative is to give up, lay blame, be dishonest, become defensive, or justify their behavior. Unfortunately, too often, people with the title of “leader” fall into these alternatives. It’s human nature. Meeting needs in collaborative and cooperative ways takes work.

Meeting needs is about loving people.

Dr. William Streng, who served as a professor at Wartburg Seminary, would often say, “Love your people.” “Your people” are those in your care, in your office, in your building, and in your home. We could maybe even say they are every person you encounter.

Leadership author Max De Pree suggests leadership is not a position, but a job. I suggest leadership is a step further–it’s a vocation, a calling. Indeed, De Pree writes leadership is “a serious meddling in other people’s lives.” Meddling, of course, works best when we start with loving our people. Then, meddling becomes a reflection of our love.

So, take care of your people. Love them. Meet needs.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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