This one question changed my view of leadership. It had nothing, and everything, to do with business.

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This one question changed my view of leadership

The year was 2000. Remote work was only a dream, as internet access came only through the squeal of a slow-paced modem. My team had been tagged for weekend work at one of our client’s office buildings.

I left my car in the parking lot and headed in. Our company owner was waiting at the door of the building to let each of us in as we arrived.

I tried to think of something pleasant and work-related to say on a day we’d all rather be at home. But he spoke first.

What came out of his mouth was not at all what I expected:

“Good morning, Steve. How’s your boy?”

(How’s my boy? What is he asking?)

(Oh yeah! I did casually mention yesterday that my son hadn’t been feeling well.)

I realized that morning that his question on Saturday morning meant he wasn’t just trying to come up with something pleasant to say in the moment. It meant he had been honestly listening a day earlier.

With that one simple question, he proved that he was genuinely interested in the things that were important to me. Every day. Not just when he wanted to look like he cared.

I learned that day that the kind of leader people want to follow does more than just practice behaviors that project a caring persona.

A leader people want to follow is one who actually cares.

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