4 Ways to Become a Leader People Want to Follow

Tim Peters is the Co-Founder of Resolute Creative, a digital marketing group. He loves seeing organizations of all sizes come alive when they identify the best digital solutions to advance their cause. Connect with him on his blog, follow him on Twitter or connect with him via LinkedIn. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

We’ve all had bosses we were proud to follow. People we’d do anything for. Even run through brick walls.

On the other hand, most of us have also had bosses we follow only because, well, they’re the boss. So what separates the leaders we want to follow from the leaders we have to follow?

Ducks Following the Leader - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/danwilton, Image #1921470

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/danwilton

The answer lies in the four Cs of effective leadership. These are all verbs, indicating actions you can take today to become a leader people want to follow:

  1. Care: People follow people who genuinely care about others. It sounds simple, yet this is an area where so many leaders fall short.
    • Take a true interest in the people who work for you.
    • Learn about their hobbies, goals, and dreams.
    • Take time to get to know names of team members’ spouses, kids, and pets.
    • Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.

    These things make a difference.

    Here’s a personal example. I once worked at a place where birthdays were recognized with large gatherings. The entire staff would huddle around the birthday person and pray for their upcoming year. Typically, that person’s boss led the prayer.

    As my boss prayed for me on my birthday, he did not say the names of my wife and kids. He did not say them because in two years he never took the time to learn them. I never felt less cared for.

    There’s no better way to lose employees than by being indifferent to the things that matter most to them. Great leadership begins with caring about the people you lead. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that is all who ever have.”

  2. Celebrate: Appreciation is motivation and inspiration. Don’t leave employees in the dark. Show them you appreciate their achievements. Celebrate their successes. This not only lets the individual know you appreciate their work, it encourages all your employees. When a team member exceeds and reaches a goal, go out of your way to celebrate them both publicly and privately.

    Here are some easy ways to celebrate employees:

    • Send a weekly email to the entire organization recognizing a team member’s success.
    • Take an employee who achieves a goal out to lunch.
    • Thank employees for great work on your company Facebook page.
    • Give an employee a gift card to their favorite cafe.
    • Post blurbs about employee achievements on Twitter.
  3. Correct: Corrective criticism is necessary to be a leader people want to follow. Employees appreciate direction that helps them grow and improve.
    • Don’t just scold employees for doing something wrong.
    • Show them the right way.
    • Put them on the path to success.
    • Take the time to regularly and thoroughly evaluate all your team members.
    • Provide goals and resources for team members to develop their skills.

    Remember, the development and success of your employees is a direct result of your leadership. Make this quote from Orlando Battista your mantra or screensaver: “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

  4. Compensate: This one is kind of a no-brainer. Still, many leaders underestimate the importance of compensation to employees. Don’t make that mistake. It’s important. Very important.

    If you have an excellent team member, see they are compensated fairly. Fight for them if you have to. Employees have more respect for and loyalty to leaders who recognize the value of their hard work and dedication.

Effective leaders are not born. They are built. Ultimately, you control what kind of leader you want to be. Take action to become a leader people want to follow. The results you’ll see from your team will be well worth the effort.

Question: What one action can you take today to become a leader people want to follow? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.peterglowka.de/ Peter Glowka

    Again, a great post Michael. I totaly agree with the third point: “3. Correct”
    Not just evaluating the team members, but also letting the team members evaluate their leader, can help significantly to build loyalty.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Peter –  Great comment.  Thank you for engaging.  Correction is huge.  On both sides of the relationship.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/kiaistar Kiai Kim

      Was just about to comment “be correctable” 

    • http://twitter.com/Samuel_A_Medina Sam Medina

      Great point, Peter. A lot of leaders miss out on greatness because they aren’t able to take correction from those under their authority. Humility goes a long way.

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Tim, great job!  Based on this post and Michael’s from yesterday, I am going to take the first steps toward getting face-to-face with all of our employees through focus groups and determine what I can do to make their work experience better.  

    I care about them and most of them know that, but I want to go further to make sure they ALL know it.  I want them to look forward to their jobs.  I want to make sure we have a workplace where they are engaged.

    Thanks for your post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great application!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Chris – That is a great idea.  One year, I asked my entire team individually at the beginning of the year one question – “This year, how can I serve you better?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

        “This year, how can I serve you better?”

        I’m using this!

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Yeah, that’s a win. I am doing several annual reviews and I will definitely be more intentional with this.

      • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

        I like that idea!  I am asking something similar in my one-on-one’s, but that is directed more at the weekly issues than the big picture.  I need to do both.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

      Chris, I believe that regular one-on-one’s can be helpful in the department as well.  It doesn’t have to be two hours long, but team members need to know you’re there to listen.  I’m in the process of going through one-on-one’s with my employees.  We talk about personal targets, training, and whatever else needs to be discussed.  This gives me a great opportunity to catch up with my team members and to find out how they’re doing inside and outside of work.

      • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

        Jon, I agree with you.  I have weekly one-on-one’s for about 60-90 minutes with each of my three direct reports.  They are invaluable to me and to them.

        The problem is the other 90+ employees don’t get the same attention from me.  They all have one-on-one’s with their supervisors, but I simply cannot get around to all of them often enough.


        • Rachel Lance

          Maybe the meetings don’t have to be so frequent or limited to 0ne-on-one. What about creating a forum where your staff simply get to sit around a table and chat with you – host a monthly lunch for 6-7 staff  at a time? Be creative – 90 people is a lot to get to know, but it’s such a great investment!

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I did this at Thomas Nelson when I first became the president. Every Friday, I hosted a session called “Pizza with the Prez.” I would invite in 8 people from one department. I asked them a series of questions:
            1. What does your ideal Saturday look like?
            2. What do you like about our company that you hope never changes?
            3. Where could we improve?
            4. If you were the CEO for a day, what is one of the first things you would change?
            As they talked, I took copious notes. I learned a ton—and built a lot of trust. When we were done, I tried to implement as many of the items mentioned as I could.

          • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

            I love this…and can see it working.  I understand numbers 2-4, but I am not sure about number 1.  Is that referring to their day off and what their interests are outside of work?  

            I ask because Saturday is a work day for us (with other days off during the week).  I assume I should reword this, “What does your ideal day off look like?”

          • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

            Very good idea, Rachel!  Thanks. 

    • Rachel Lance

      Excellent plan, Chris, and I love the motivation behind it. Blessings as you go, can’t wait to hear updates along the way.

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    Great advice from Tim. I’ve seen the good and bad side of each of these. Thanks for the reminders!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Michael – Thank you for compliment.  I have seen the good, bad and ugly side as well.  Hopefully I am moving towards the good.  

      • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

        Same here, my friend!

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    When this becomes the culture of an organization’s entire leadership chain, look out.  That company or non-profit is going to do amazing things.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Thad.  I had the same exact thoughts.  What if every person in one organization practiced these C’s.  Powerful!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/phillipshumake Phillip Shumake

    As a pulpit minister, what recommendations do you guys have for how to “Compensate” the average church member? What is my “currency” with them – I know delivering a high quality sermon is a start, but I’d love to hear what else you all recommend. Thanks for this awesome blog!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Phillip – Thank you for the comment and compliment on post. As a former Pastor, I believe the best way you can “compensate” church volunteers/members is recognizing and celebrating their service.  Not putting people above the church or Christ, but simply recognizing their heart to serve and contribute.  

      • Terrenceboyer

        Our church holds volunteer appreciation dinners to let volunteers know they are highly valued and appreciated. The pastors serve the food and just say thanks to everyone and that’s all it takes for me to keep volunteering. The free food doesn’t hurt either!

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          The free food …. That is great.  Appreciation Dinners, Appreciation Services, Etc. are all great and needed. 

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Tim —

        Agreed. Our new pastor is so intentional about this. He delivers hand-written thank-you notes, with a short but detailed message, within 24 hours. He also knows who likes public recognition and who would rather die than receive it and acts accordingly.

        My husband is the praise and worship leader at our church. In all of his years of ministry, all he’s heard is complaints (about the volume, sound choice, drums, etc.) Under the leadership of our new pastor, all complaints are discussed (rather than just being dumped on him). 

        He also initiated a subscription to Worship Leader magazine that started showing up in our mail. When the second issue arrived, Daniel quipped, “I AM a real boy!” He feels like his contribution really matters.

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          Cheri –
          That is great!  I love pastors who are intentional.  The pastor at my church is extremely thoughtful and attentive.  Thanks. 

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

           There’s something beautiful about a hand-written note …

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          This is great. As a Youth Pastor I will write hand-written letters to my small group of guys and they love it! There is something about getting a “real letter” ESPECIALLY to the “mosaic” generation—because they are so digital.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Sometimes the best compensation for a volunteer is making it easier for them to do what they are equipped to do — a kind of parting-the-sea. Volunteers often become so frustrated at the hoops they have to jump through to serve. A leader who takes the time to invest in the success of the volunteer makes a huge investment.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        That is great point Michele.  For some reason, especially in the church. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I can think of three things.

      1. Create or offer great resource that they can use.
      2. Have random members over for dinner. This is something our pastor does and it is amazing the appreciation you feel from this activity.
      3. Give them a phone call or written letter. Nothing says you care more than giving of your time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/phillipshumake Phillip Shumake

       HUGE Thanks everyone!  I love these suggestions and look forward to incorporating them.  Especially the idea about sharing a resource that will both compliment and further equip.  I think the magazine thing was a brilliant gift of appreciation.  Thanks Tim for your practical insights!

  • Mike Berry

    I love this post! Just a few months ago I was promoted to team leader over my team and this is a great reminder. Love the point about celebrating achievements. Thanks for this.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Mike – Congrats on the promotion.  I guarantee the odds of you being a great team leader will greatly increase by practicing “celebration of others.” 

  • Thomasamone

    It is very True Michael,am working among the people /generation who need Leaders of that kind that is why you are highly needed here in Northern Uganda to Equip the body of Christ.thanks am pastor  Thomas Amone.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Thomas. Praying for your leadership in Northern Uganda.

  • http://scottkantner.com Scott Kantner

    Model the behavior you want from them. I’ve learned first-hand that actions dedinitely do speak louder than words.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Scott –  I completely agree!  Practice what you preach.  

  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    I worked for 15 years in the last company I was employed, and during this period I had 11 different managers. There was one who was always my favorite manager, and I’ve always looked up to him as an example of an excellent leader. Reading this post, I realized now that he was the only manager I had that successfully took all the four actions above, the way you described them.
    I used to work with customer support, and one thing that I’ve always told my managers after him that we all admired that this manager did, but no one seemed to care enough to immitate, was that when he was leaving at the end of the day, he would go by all our cubicles to check if someone was still handling a crisis or something that he could help. He wouldn’t go until he knew that everything was under control. For us, that was also a way to show that he cared.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Cris –  I too had a leader who practice these C’s.  In fact, that person randomly inspired this post.

    • Rachel Lance

      You’re very blessed, Cris to have worked for someone who captured all 4 Cs. I’ve worked from some great people, but the one that really gets all 4 of Tim’s points is a rare breed. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Four great points, Tim. I think number one is so important, yet  many organizations overlook this or outright forbid it. In a previous job that I had, I was told as a new leader that I wasn’t allowed to have lunch or hang out with my former co-workers. Since I was now in management, I needed major separation.

    While it was true that I had a new job, what I actually needed more than anything was to build rapport with my new team. I needed to show that I cared. I couldn’t just drop years of friendship and abandon relationships that had been built up not only with the employees, but their families as well.

    Thankfully I ran across a great book at the time called Vital Friends, by Tom Rath. In it, Tom talks about the benefits of building friendships at work and how they can positively impact an organization. Written from years of research and over 8 million interviews by the Gallup organization, the facts were overwhelming. Building friendships at work is a good thing. Over the years, the wisdom in this book has been very helpful. While my old job is gone, my friendships are still alive and well.

    Truly caring about your employees and celebrating their success is so much better than separating yourself and ruling with an iron fist. While there needs to be a separation in job duties, building great friendships can revolutionize a workplace and create a great work environment. 

    A place where people truly want to come to work…

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      John – Thank you for comment.  I always enjoy your reading your thoughts.  Very thoughtful and precise.  

      I would think the fellow Senior Manager would have encouraged you to have more lunch appointments with your team!  

      I will definitely check out Vital Friends.  Sounds great. 

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        What I like about the book is the real world study that they did.  Work teams that have lunch together, hang out, and maybe watch a football game on the weekend are really more productive and the job satisfaction is much greater. 

        But the landmark discovery is that people who have a “best friend at work” are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. With job satisfaction on the decline, this may be a good book for corporate leaders to read!

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          Ok, now I am completely sold on book. The “best friend at work” is a no brainer observation. The same holds true for a local church.

        • Rachel Lance

          Thanks for the recommendation, John, sounds like a great book. I have appreciated a lot of Gallup’s work in the past couple years. 

          • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

            As with the Strength Finder series, the large amount of research data provides a compelling view of the subject.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Great thoughts John. My husband worked for a boss that didn’t encourage friendship and at times actually discouraged it. The men on his team tried to maintain their personal connection but with the discouragement of their boss’ leadership it was impossible. In the long run all four of the assistants left, within a two year period, and even the boss left. It was terribly sad. Even more sad that they were pastor’s.  I think the senior pastor felt he wasn’t a strong leader, and his authority was more fragile, if he was his staff’s friend. Of course this took a toll on the church as a whole as well. I remember my husband saying that he would be more apt to follow and even at times blindly obey if his boss was his friend and showed he cared. Loyalty at work isn’t gained with a threat but with compassion.

      Vital Friends sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing that recommendation.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Having worked under both types of leadership, I can tell you that having a boss that has an open door policy and cares about his/her employees is the way to go. When you build a strong team, people want to stay!

        In the scenario like you describe, the minute a better opportunity comes along, people leave. Sad, but true.

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    The caring part is truly the cornerstone.  “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  A lot of leaders try to dazzle their people with all the knowledge they have on doing the job.  However, people follow leaders who they believe have their best interest at heart.  This post gives great tips on how to demonstrate that you care.

    My 1st 3 years as a leader in a Fortune 50 company I tried dazzling with my knowledge.  The last 12 years in that same company, my attitude changed.  I found myself with a more committed and productive team.  I also had a lot more fun!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Dave – I too have a tremendous amount of fun when I am myself and truly caring for others.  Love when you said caring is the “cornerstone”.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       You’re absolutely right. And that caring factor can come through in affirmation and correction.

  • http://twitter.com/peterwalters64 Peter Walters


    I am glad you put “Care” at the top of your list.  When people know you care that goes along way because many people just feel like cogs in the wheel.  I was 28 when I  first began Youth Ministry by YP standards I was very old:)  While there were many things I was not good at I purposed to let my kids know I cared about them.  I sent out birthday cards, cards for when they got their driving permit informing them I was “staying off the sidewalks” etc.  This year we have been invited to two weddings of our former youth.  We moved on from there 15 years ag0.  The lesson – People will not always remember what you say but they will remember how you make them feel. 

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Peter – Wow.  Good comment.  If people know you genuinely care, that care covers up a ton of mistakes and flaws.  I too was a Youth Pastor for several years.  It is a great honor to be invited to their special events.  

    • Rachel Lance

      Excellent illustration, Peter. I think you gave those kids an incredible gift in the example you set. 

  • http://rise365.com Michael Good

    I’m realizing more and more how leadership is definite skill, a craft that needs to be worked on. It’s something I’m working on and integrating into my life and marriage.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Michael – I agree.  In fact, writing this post was extremely convicting.  I realized I need to practice what I typed.  

      • http://rise365.com Michael Good

        Isn’t that the truth. I often find I write about the things that I need and am working on at the moment. How did it convict you?

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          I am not perceived as a caring person by others. I care but am not perceived to care.  I am a “close the door and get it done” type of leader.  Task driven and not necessarily people driven.  I am working more on being sensitive to others.  Opening my door, walking around the office and having intentional conversations.  

  • Cynthia Howard-Hogg

    Re: #3, Correction: Always remember to do correction in private, so as not to embarrass anyone. My husband taught me this; it works well with kids also! Taking an employee (or child) aside for correction, out of the earshot of others, shows respect and  genuine concern for the individual.

    As part of one of my favorite Orthodox morning prayers, I always pray, “Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embarrassing or embittering others.” Good advice for bosses–and parents!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Cynthia – Thank you for comment.  I am definitely adding your morning prayer to mine.  Good stuff.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great reminder, Cynthia. After all, how many of us enjoy public correction? Humiliation often negates any positive result that may have occurred.

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    I’m currently struggling with a group six sophomore boys who think English class is a total waste of time. In talking with my principal about them yesterday, I realized that I need to find out more about each young man’s individual goals. Then I can do a better job of helping each student see how what we do in class each day is helping him move toward those goals. 
    I believe this would demonstrate #1 and #4. I’d also be better able to customize #2 and #3 to make them as effective as possible.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Cheri –  Wow.  I wished I had you as an English teacher.  I think if you identify their goals and help them reach their goals, all 4 C’s will be in motion.  

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Thank you for your vote of confidence! 

    • Jim Martin

      Cheri, I am impressed with the effort that you are making toward reaching these boys. You really do model what Tim has written in his post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    I believe I do a pretty good job in the caring department; however, I’m confident there is more I could do.  I like the idea of remembering birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  My first step would be sending a card or another greeting to honor my team members.  And a sub-first step will be to create a calendar or document that will help me remember these dates and key interests, etc.  Thanks for the ideas.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Jon – I really like the idea of having a file filled with team member interests.  Good one.  We do the same with our clients. We have them fill out a brief survey at the point of agreement.  Simple questions – When is your birthday?  When is your anniversary?  What are your hobbies?  Then throughout the year we connect with our clients based on the answers of these questions.  

  • http://twitter.com/smuddles Sarah Mudd

    I really like this post, and plan to share it with some of our student leaders. I think it’s applicable not only to supervising professionals, but any person who leads peers. I especially like that both Care and Correct are on the list. I find that caring comes more naturally, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that correction is a big part of caring. The life value of quality, well-timed correction is important to remember!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Good point Sarah.  Correction is a huge part of caring.  Glad you are sharing with your student leaders.  That is great.  Let me know how they receive information. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    You should be sainted, Cheri!  Thanks for what you do to teach the next generation.

    • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

      Yours is my first vote for sainthood, that’s for sure!  ;-)  Thank you for the affirmation. I know better than to expect gratitude from my students (at least for another decade or so!) so I very much appreciate those who express it on their behalf!

  • http://cavemanreflections.blogspot.com/ Michael Mulligan

    Great post, Tim.  Caring for others definitely belongs in the number one spot.  It’s really sad your boss didn’t know your wife’s name or the names of your children.

    Your question about what steps can you take today to become a leader others want to follow is an easy one to answer.   Something important is on my mind concerning a seven-year-old writer with special needs.  She needs a scholarship to attend a school equipped to give “the young apprentice” the education she needs to change the world.  It’s a tall order for such a young girl, however, her family has faith and she has a dream.   The action I’m taking today is to post links directly to the contest site so people can vote for her and her dream can become a reality.  Thank you for a great post and for asking me a compelling question.  Maybe you can help this little girl with a big dream by voting for her.  Here is the link to her homemade video appeal for your vote:


    BTW, the young girl’s family doesn’t know how to do social media, so I’m hoping everyone who reads your blog post today will pitch in.  There is only one scholarship available and the top-vote getter is one hundred votes ahead of “the young apprentice.”  Maybe some of your readers can demonstrate what today’s leadership message is all about by voting and spreading the word.  Keep up the good work and keep caring about others.  You are a true leader.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Thanks for sharing about your friend. I went to the page and voted for her. Hopefully she will win.

      • http://cavemanreflections.blogspot.com/ Michael Mulligan

        Thanks, Joe.  I’m sharing this link with the parents of the “young apprentice” so they can see how many great people are part of Michael’s community.  I had dinner with the family last night and the mother shared her faith about how God will answer her prayers for a scholarship, even though she had no clue how to help her daughter make a video, edit the video, or upload the video.  Even though her laptop broke yesterday, she still had faith God would answer her prayer;  she just didn’t know how.  Your vote just helped the family get one step closer.  Thank you.

  • http://www.hope101.net Lori Tracy Boruff

    Your entire post is great. The last paragraph is encouraging to me. Leaders are built. ..I think I’ll start with being more caring and keep ask God to make me the leader he needs me to be. Thanks!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Becoming a leader is like building a house. You can’t put it up overnight, no matter how hard you work. I’m doing the same as you — asking God to make me the leader He wants me to be.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        I think we are all in the same boat.  Each day taking incremental steps to becoming great leaders. 

    • Rachel Lance

      I love Tim’s post because each of the 4 C’s can be done in many small ways each day. Taking the time to make change 2 degrees at a time will add up to a huge impact over time.  

      • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

        I was thinking the same thing. There is something small that I can do every day to accomplish one of these 4 C’s. Evernoted!

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    The results of our company survey last year indicated that I scored alone the top leadrlers in our company. I think it is because I care about our team members. I don’t always get it right, but I think I earn a lot of leeway because I care.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Larry, I would be willing to bet as well that your Care for team members is why you ranked high.  Congrats. 

    • Jim Martin

      Congratulations Larry!  Your team members are bless to work with someone who genuinely cares about them.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    I’m going to need a larger wall, to post all of these Gems of wisdom you bless us with, Michael!  Showing you care about your employees is a great way to encourage people to follow you. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Haha, right Mike!

      I can see a new income stream for Michael. Inspirational wall posters made from the great content on his site.

  • Bfield75

    I can call my team members and talk to them about how things are going both in their work and personal lives.  

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great idea. In our culture of digital communication, a simple phone call can seem like an extra effort and kind gesture.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Very true.  Crazy but true.  

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Great stuff Tim! And congrats on having a guest post on the site!

    While I know that recognition is important, it is probably the area I struggle with the most. Whether it be something another team member does or the great cleaning job my wife. It is something I need to work on.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Thanks Joe.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      You are not alone!

  • http://twitter.com/MyHelpSource MyHelpSource

    I truly appreciate the way you’ve condensed an entire course on leadership into such a concise–and spot on!–lesson.

    Your point about correction and the workable process you shared are critically important, yet of the many hundreds of leaders I’ve trained and coached over the years, only a small percentage have come to me with the understanding that correction is a necessary component of successful leadership.

    Still others equate “correction” with “punishment” despite the significant differences between the two. If a leader stoops to punishment it is frequently because they have failed to employ effective correction.

    If there is fault to be found, it more likely falls at the feet of the leader than the follower.


    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Guy, I completely agree.  Correction does not equal punishment.  Completely opposite.  

      We present Correction as Growth Opportunities.  

    • http://www.leadingyourlife.net/ Jason Pulley

      “If there is fault to be found, it more likely falls at the feet of the leader than the follower.”

      I couldn’t agree more.  I have had a few “difficult” followers and I found that in changing myself in my approach and communication it changed their perceptions. Correcting became quite beneficial.  I have learned to communicate such expectations in the form of feedback as a correctional tool.

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com/ Charles Specht

    No one wants to follow a leader who doesn’t know where she is going. The blind don’t want to follow the blind. Many times followers don’t even care to know the destination so long as they are assured the leader knows where he is going. But I’d rather follow someone who had a destination in mind and wasn’t merely leading for leading-sake.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Charles – Interesting thought.  Great leaders do a great job of painting the future.  A picture of where could be and should be.  

      • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com/ Charles Specht

        Yes, Tim.  Painting the picture.  Setting the vision.  Charting the course.  Mapping the destination.  Give people a reason to follow and, mostly likely, they will.

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          Agree.  If the people are emotionally connected to the problem your vision is solving, they will definitely follow.  

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    Great thoughts on leadership, thank you for sharing! I think most of your C’s can be wrapped up in the overarching C of Community.  The feeling of being part of an institution isn’t very inspiring, while being a vital part of a community is compelling. One thought too on correct is of course to do that in private while we celebrate publicly.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Beck – Great observation and nice way of pulling together the C’s into one universal C in Community.  I recommend you read John Richardson comment about having friends at work. 

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thanks. John Richardson’s comment  was insightful, thank you for recommending it.

        I was thinking about my comment about correcting. Perhaps in an environment like the one you’ve mentioned corrections could be teachable moments for the whole team and team members wouldn’t feel threatened in the right atmosphere. Maybe only true  repremands should be private. Hmmm.

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          Yes, teaching moments is a good way to view correction.  We call them growth opportunities. 

    • Jim Martin

      Beck, what a great point!  You are right, this really can be summed up under what it means to experience genuine community.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    These are great tips, Tim. In particular, I think the idea of care is great. It sends the message that a leader views you as a person and not just as a cog. The worker then begins to treat the boss like a person as well.
    That goes a long way to augment everything else. Correction is received in a better manner, and conflict is resolved more quickly.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      You care, you can correct. 

  • http://www.homeschoolconvention.com/blog Jenny

    This is great, and I shared with our director team. Today I’m going to leave a note on our team FB page praising my graphics designer.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Jenny – That is great!  The designer will be very happy.  

  • Neil

    Hi Tim – I love this post! I believe most great leaders are good listeners, as you mentioned getting to know your team members is key. Once someone understands that you care about them, you will be able to build a trusting relationship. Trust is the key to any great relationship. Cheers!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Neil – Thanks.  Listening is huge.  

  • REG

    This is a wonderful post.  I agree with all four steps.  Nothing to argue with any of them.  However, I worked for a boss that took care of all four of these steps and still missed being a good leader by not backing me and empowering me to do the job.  When I was hired, I was told that my position would require a tough skin.  I assumed this meant that I would face some opposition within the other directors in the organization and I was ready to face that. In hind site, I think it meant, when push came to shove my boss was not going to back me and would generally take the other persons side.  That hurt me many many times.  This area of his leadership wore me down and I ultimately left for another position.  

    I am not suggesting that you add a fifth way to be a good leader but wanted to point out that even following all four of these does not seal the deal that you are a good leader that everyone would want to follow. If your employees are doing good, they need your support and backing when a conflict arises.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      I’m not sure your boss was getting the caring aspect right if he acted like that. Real care goes deeper than recognizing a birthday, it goes to the heart of a person. Just a thought. I’m sorry to hear you had that experience, I’m sure it was terribly frusterating.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Reg – Good thought.  I agree with Beck.  The caring aspect should include a leader “going to bat” for his team.  I will definitely add this content under caring. 

    • Jim Martin

      Reg, you make a very good point which can make or break a leader’s influence.  Thanks.

  • Teresa

    Thank you for your post about fair compensation.  While an “atta’ boy” from someone I admire does mean something, it has always been a little confusing to me when a superior tells me what a great job I’ve done, but then doesn’t reward that greatness in ways that help me to survive. I suppose I expect from myself that my work will be great so it’s no surprise to hear that things have gone well (we’re hired to do well for our employers, right?). It is always nice to be recognized but a pat on the back does not feed my family or pay the mortgage. Thank you, thank you for recognizing and commenting on the importance of proper
    compensation. It seems to be a “taboo” subject for most, but it’s really VERY important since the basic
    reason that most people work is to pay the bills (then, following, to be productive,
    contribute, etc.).

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Teresa, good thoughts.  I agree that the “atta’ boys” only go so far.  I used to say the “atta’ boys” do not pay the bills. 

  • http://mauricefoverholt.wordpress.com/ Maurice F. Overholt

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!  I have had several divergent experiences.  At one of my employers, however, the staff went to lunch or did something every month to celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries of that month, and the birthday person’s tab was picked up personally by everyone else.  Sometimes we went golfing, bowling, whatever; the honoree got to choose.  At one point the senior pastor bought afternoon tickets to a minor league baseball game and took us in lieu of a staff meeting.  The pay there is not stellar, but the staff cares, deeply.

    At another job the pay was better, but the critical atmosphere was stifling.

    Caring about people is primary because, well, people matter most.  My dad taught me this and I am still trying to get it right!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Maurice – Thanks for the comment.  I love this quote you provided – Caring about people is primary because, well, people matter most.

  • http://twitter.com/JodiAman Jodi Lobozzo Aman

    Great!  I have to get better at the special touches like remembering about family and dates! http://www.healnowandforever.net

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Jodi – Thanks for comment.  It does require doing the little things.  For some reason, the little things mean the most to people.

      • Jim Martin

        Tim, that is so true.  I really does come down to doing the little things.  Sometimes I think we needlessly complicate this and forget to be attentive to the small but meaningful actions.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Tim. It truely is the little things that make a big difference to people. Following this advice makes things better and easier for a manager. By this, I mean, if you have done these things and have to reprimand, the person understands that you care about them and are correcting the action and not “picking” on the person.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Ron, I completely agree! By practicing these 4 C’s you give yourself a platform to be a more effective leader in other ways. 

  • http://www.dennisbrooke.com/ Dennis Brooke

    Amen, Tim. These things are so easy but so often overlooked. I like to say that bad news has it’s own legs so it’s the job of the leader to give legs to good news. I think you can sum up your principles in one word: Respect

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Dennis I could go with that reasoning.  It all starts with respect.  

    • Jim Martin

      Dennis, as I thought about the post and then your comment, I think you make a great point.  Tim’s post really does communicate the importance of genuine respect.

  • Tom

    I really appreciated this post because I would like to believe that if given the opportunity to lead a group, I would take hold of these in my daily duties..  With that said, the one thing in the post that kind of hit me between the eyes is the personal example for “Care”.  The example leads off with “As my boss prayed for me” and ends with “I never felt less cared for”.  I understand the context in the middle about the boss not knowing the family members names probably drove the ending comment, but the bookending statements are almost like an oxymoron to me. 

    If my boss called me in and said, “hey, I know you and your family are having a rough time or it’s your birthday”, or whatever, and then said “I’d like to pray for you”, I would be blown away. 

    Not trying to be negative on a post that I really like, but for those of us who do not work in an environment where corporate prayer takes place, that alone would upgrade the “Care” grade for me. :)

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Tom, I sense no negativity at all.  It does appear odd.  Written a bit more for shock value.  That specific situation was only a piece of not feeling appreciated or cared for over a course of a couple years.  Thanks. 

  • Dominique Provost

    Learn from my boss’ mistakes so i wont repeat them once I will be a boss.
    I worked for many (18) years for one person, holding myself… Now the time comes he retires and I’ll follow his accomplished business, his lifetime work. But I’ll try not to make his mistakes… Allthougj I know I’ll make mine !
    But this is life…

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      I try and do the same.  Learn from both mistakes and successes of leaders. 

  • http://robsorbo.com/ Rob Sorbo

    Great list. These are definitely characteristics of some of the great bosses I’ve had. Surprisingly, some of the bosses I’ve enjoyed less are only missing 1-2 of the characteristics.

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    As I read I immediately thought of some people that I could celebrate. Thanks very much for this list. It is super practical and I just can’t help but love alliteration. My wife and I used to send out cards to certain people every week. We have not done that since the move and I think it will be something to get back into.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Brandon, glad the post was helpful.  

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Too many times some companies just want to push and push on their people. There is a local grocery store here in Wisconsin that is the biggest but worse to work for. I see the moral of the employess everyday and it’s very low! By treating their employees this way I don’t think they get the most production out of their workforce. Most employess there just want to do enough to not get fired, that can’t be benefical for anyone. You have to care, and you have to celebrate. Great post Tim.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Kimanzi –  Completely agree.  Morale will be at it’s all time low if people feel devalued.

  • http://ignitechange.net/ Craig Morton

    Act on “their” behalf or best interest is a huge one for me.  When a leader sticks his/her neck out for their under-links, it places an immense value on what they do.  Thanks

  • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

    This is fantastic, Tim. The first two are so important yet often overlooked by leaders. I have been focusing on the ideas of Caring and Celebrating with an executive I currently coach. She lacks skills in these areas, but most concerning is her disregard for their importance! Any ideas?

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Tracy, are you asking for ideas you can use to help executive do a better job with caring and celebrating?  

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        We have discussed several specific ways that she can do a better job in these two areas. She continues to “like” the ideas yet fails to implement. I’m struggling to get her buy-in on the importance of these aspects of leadership, meanwhile her team’s morale is very low. She is quite brilliant and very task-driven. I’m trying to encourage her to place more priority on relationships. To care. To celebrate the things her people are doing well rather than focus only on their shortcomings.

        • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

          It sounds like you are taking a good shot at helping her see the value. I would look for examples of great senior leaders across industries that model this style of leadership.  Also, I would recommend you have her read The Energy Bus book. 

          • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

            Great ideas, Tim. I appreciate it!

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  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Fantastic post! I lead a team of 4 paid staff, and a lot more volunteers, in a large church Student Ministry department. I think I do a pretty good job at the care and I try to celebrate when I get the opportunity.  Thanks for reminding me that I need to be WAY more intentional leading this group of talented leaders—who always make our team look great!
    Thanks, Tim.

    The part about compensation—in the church that is a post for another day! :)

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    Nice elegant approach.  Too often I have heard people miss the mark by saying things like “getting people to follow boils down to one thing”…then fill in the blank (pay, recognition, …whatever).

    That just isn’t true.  A great 2003 HBR article explored this at length.  The study showed that the factors that drive satisfaction (intrinsic, meaningful things like purpose, recognition, alignment, encouragement) are fundamentally different from the factors that drive dissatisfaction (extrinsic things like pay, environment, policies).

    The point being…if you want someone to engage and follow the leader (i.e. be satisfied and NOT dissatisfied), you can’t take a one-dimensional approach.  You have to address both intrinsic factors (care about them, make them feel valued, mentor / correct them) and the extrinsic factors (pay them fairly, ditch dumb policies, get them a decent chair/computer).

    Care, Celebrate, Correct, Compensate just sounds better!

  • Valdyramah

    What a nice lessons for us! May GOD straighten all our ways.

  • Edwin Sarmiento

    Great post, Tim. Very relevant in today’s corporate environment. I like the idea of celebrating your staff’s success. I blogged about it several years ago http://wp.me/p1GJXV-p

    Most managers are so caught up with their personal image, success and ego that all they care about is themselves. Publicly recognizing the successes of your staff makes them feel appreciated, valued and encouraged. And it is one of the cheapest means of compensation although it requires a lot of intention and care about your staff.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for wise words! 
    Years ago I hired on in a large printshop with over 100 employees. I was introduced to the owner a single time who, three weeks later, still remembered my name. A small thing, but it’s stuck with me. 
    Making the effort – paying attention – to remember a name, a birthday, whatever – pays huge dividends. It tells others that they matter. 

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    The one thing? Listen. I ran into a friend in the grocery store. My mind raced ahead to what I needed to do. My body language said I wasn’t listening. He asked me questions. I didn’t return the favor. Until… I chose to listen. I shifted from looking at the meat display (a conscious change of my body’s position) to facing him. I did have to cut him off at some point but I listened until I did have to get moving due to other obligations.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Body position is huge.  

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Great thoughts Tim! Some other Cs that help in leadership:

    — Conviction: a leader should understand that loyalty to his calling and to his people is paramount.

    — Compassion: when learning of the condition of the mission and of his people,  a leader has a burden in his heart.

    — Courage: a leader should be able to choose the road less traveled and take calculated risk.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Uma – Those are great additions.  

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Tim!

        Subject: [mhyatt] Re: 4 Ways to Become a Leader People Want to Follow

  • http://irenephilips.com/ Irene Philips

    I used to be concerned about maintaining a professional distance from those who report to me, but now I’m more about letting my guard down and really connecting with them. I am able to enjoy trusting relationships where caring & feedback can flow both ways.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    I think many executives overlook the care aspect.  I once worked 18 months for an executive who, in that entire time, never asked “How was your weekend?” That seems like a small thing, but it was indicative of the fact that he couldn’t care less about anything about me. On the other hand, the executive I worked for after that not only asked about me, but even asked how my husband’s golf game was going, etc. 

    Because I felt he had some level of care about me as an individual, it made the work environment so much better. Great post, Tim.

  • http://donkily.com/ Scott Reyes

    Great points here. What are your thoughts on celebrating the process (working towards the results) vs celebrating the achievements? There has been a lot of buzz recently around the idea the celebrating achievements only will lead people to not be able to push through the process when they face obstacles.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewstark andrewstark

    All good things to do, the main trouble with the world is that people are promoted to “boss” because of the length of service or how clever they are rather than how much they know about leadership.

    Really like this list, and if you want to add a 5th & 6th C, I would suggest coaching and confidence.

    The best managers I’ve had have found opportunities to represent my group in cross functional projects, but the project leaders know that if I were to get out of my depth the manager is ready to step in and fix / point out the mistakes I’ve made.

    These people give you the confidence to feel empowered, and that’s when you actually feel happy about coming into work and allows you to achieve massive results as a team.


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  • Bmwbear129

    This is the best blog I have read in awhile!  I am a manager at a local fast food restaurant and I have been here for 25 years.  I can truly attest that these are the qualities to become.  As the years of passed I have seen less and less of this kind of management and I pray each day I can become more and more like the boss people “want” to work for.   The  more compassion you show, the more open they become, making the work place a much happier place to be!

  • http://twitter.com/HealthNut_Blog Jessica Zirbes

    Well said! This post reminded me how blessed I am to have a stellar manager. I just sent her a really sweet email. Thank you for the reminder.

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    I think the worst thing you can do is a leader is to act like you don’t care about your team. An organization with an apathetic attitude is destined for failure on many levels.

  • Andrea Mullens

    Before becoming a full time stay at home mom I worked for several different bosses. My favorite one, the one I’m still in touch with, did all of these things. He was an amazing man and a joy to work with.

    Now that I’m at home I see these and think that they apply in the home as well. When I’m leading my kids I need to apply each of these things as a part of being the kind of mom I want to be. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

  • Mary King

    Of course all this is true but the real issue is that there are some who are unable to truly care about others for whatever reason, and there is nothing worse than hypocritical “caring”.
    I couldn’t agree more with the rest. . . Great post

  • http://www.elderadofinancial.blogspot.com/ Adam Miller

    Figure out the activities that give them energy and the activities that sap them of their strength. Make sure their job is more life giving than draining.

    Encourage others to realize their true capacity, to count their blessings. Americans have a view that is fogged by scarcity today. Folks don’t realize all of their capacity, their knowledge, experiences, good and bad, their relationships, their attitude.

    If you can teach someone what they truly have and point them to work they truly love, you may just empower your people to be leaders worth following themselves.

    Adam Miller

  • Drjeremybrubaker

    Great reminder of those little things that make a big and lasting impact on our people!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Minimum

    I love the Covey 7 habits and his theory of the emotional bank account…owning your mistakes and sincerely apologising for them… 

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  • CindyD

    When sending a group email or newsletter, name specifically who the accolades go to…

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  • http://www.robinsonleadership.com/ Leadership development Toronto

    Thank you so much for this article. I found out some things about I had no idea and they are very useful. I know that a leader should have a positive attitude, to communicate a lot with others, to listen them, to come up and implement new ideas plus many more. It’s an interesting subject and we can learn new things over and over again.

  • http://wcwpartners.com/our-blog/ Doug Watsabaugh

    This article shed a simple, realistic light on leadership…I particularly agree with your statement “Effective leaders are not born, they are built.” So true – it takes work!

  • Needs2Cash

    Take the blame.  After all it your system that causes most, if not all, failures to fulfill requirements.

  • Sally Baerman

    Thank my employees at the end of the day ~ each day!

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  • Kuldeep Tanwar

    Care & Correct I am doing already & both are really must for a leader, One more thing there shall be right mix with right percentage of each.
    I think now I need to divert towards celebrate & compensation because in totality all 4 ways are required to be a good leader

  • http://twitter.com/Samuel_A_Medina Sam Medina

    Great post! Care definitely needs to be #1. I’ve known too many leaders, especially in church leadership, who cared little or not at all for their people.