not all needs are apparent

Thank you for coming.  I wish my director came to visit me.

They slew giants!

I was climbing into my car after a visit to one of our local leaders when I heard that last sentence.  That year, I heard that same sentence several times. “I wish…”   All of the leaders who voiced that thought were successfully leading their teams forward.  Who would have thought that they would want a visit?  Who would have thought that they needed it?

Not me. They were super confident, each one creatively approaching the mission with vigor, and relishing the opportunities to advance the Kingdom. They slew giants!  They did eat problems for breakfast!  Who would have thought?


Everyone needs affirmation, even your best people, maybe especially your best people.  We are all human on the inside, no matter how superhuman we look on the outside.  We don’t just want to be  noticed, but to be seen, to be heard and understood, as we are.  To be encouraged when truly known is such a gift.

Leaders often underestimate the value of that gift.  We may think, “What do I have to offer this very successful person?  They don’t need my advice – they are smart, creative, and going for it.”  True, they probably don’t need you to solve their problems, BUT they do need to be noticed, encouraged, corrected (when needed), and applauded for the steps of faith they are taking each and every day.  Even holding people accountable says that their work matters.

No one they are leading understands the joys, hurts, challenges, fears, and concerns like you do.  Knowing their realities and the steps they are taking to change them reduces the distance that often exists between leadership levels.  To be affirmed by one who understands the turf is a powerful motivator.

If you’re leading leaders, don’t be blinded by their strengths and great reports.  See the person who needs to be understood and encouraged.  Give the gift of affirmation.  Give the gift of encouragement.  Give the gift of feedback.  By doing so, you are saying, “You matter.”

This entry was posted in Developing people, Leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to not all needs are apparent

  1. Millie says:

    Andrea – I appreciate that I felt affirmed by you when you lead me! 😉

  2. Pingback: 5 for Leadership (10/4/12) - Gary Runn

  3. cintiamartin says:

    Great words! So much to learn… so much to be grateful for 🙂

  4. terry morgan says:

    Excellent post… and so true… sometimes those who look like they “have it all together” really do need encouragement also! Thanks for the important reminder!

  5. Zandy Keliduan says:

    Thank for this article, help and encouraged me.

  6. Steve Morgan says:

    Reblogged this on Leader Impact and commented:
    Everyone needs encouragement or affirmation. Leading and loving well requires understanding what Andrea writes about in this post. Who needs to hear from you today? Your spouse? Kids? Team members? Another leader? Check it out!

  7. Leaders need people around them who remember they are mere mortals in need of real relationships – this is a rare gift for leaders and mature leaders cherish this gift more than anything else. It is interesting to note that if this need is not met through appropriate means the potential for failure intensifies as we see in this weekends resignations of industry and government leaders embarrassed by affairs.

    • Seeing the person vs what they produce is a challenge for supervisors. the tension between caring for the individual and accomplishing the task is always there. Thanks, Ray, for highlighting that– I like this phrase “mere mortals in need of real relationships.”

  8. Ganaa says:

    Great article. Thanks for posting. I got it. Try to listen and acknowledge one of my team member this week. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Not all needs are apparent | Leader Impact

  10. Ok, I read this one after I read the one on diligence and I am smiling and receiving the Lord’s encouragement and affirmation to me because now I know one of the reasons I am hesitant to persevere and be diligent….the need to be heard, understood and affirmed that I am not “off” and should continue in diligence. So glad the Lord led me to your blog, Andrea.

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