4 Ways to Be a Generous Leader – Brooke Faulkner

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What do you think is one of the most important attributes that separates a good leader from a mediocre leader?

There are lots of things, but if you said “generosity,” you’re onto something!

This doesn’t necessarily mean bosses doling out big raises and bonuses (although those monetary incentives do help). So, what is generosity? What we are talking about is the spirit in which your company gives to its employees.

Employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger. They want to feel good about their work. They want positive reinforcement, not criticism. They want to be heard. The list goes on.

Here are a few ideas on how to be a more generous leader:

Offer Feedback, Not Criticism

Criticisms are just complaints in disguise. Whether you’re at home, among friends or at work, no one wants to hear negative comments about something they did wrong.

It’s easy to complain about people’s work, but it’s not helpful. As Dale Carnegie said in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain — and most fools do.”

If your management style is to give criticism, consider delivering feedback in a constructive way so the employee knows how they can be more effective. The employee should leave a meeting or discussion with the awareness of how they can do better without feeling like they got beat up.

Consider it a conversation among two people and leave it with a focus on solutions, a plan and follow up. Make sure you are being respectful and using an appropriate tone. By helping someone, you’re being generous.

Let the Employee Choose a Charity of Their Choice

A company’s donation to a good cause is often associated with generosity. While this is indeed charitable, it’s not the only way to go about donating.

Some companies give each employee x-amount of dollars to donate to the charity of their choice. Instead of the company giving a lump sum to a charity or nonprofit, the employee gets to decide what qualified organization they feel most connected to. Letting them choose gives an employee a sense of pride and engages them individually.

Planning a charitable contribution is part of what generous leaders do, but it doesn’t always have to be monetary. It’s common for good companies to volunteer their time to causes or give in-kind donations to someone who couldn’t otherwise afford their services. This type of giving builds camaraderie among employees.

Give Compliments

Everyone likes to be told they matter and are doing a good job with their work. Not every employee is a rockstar, but most people have something valuable to contribute. Pick that one person or few people who don’t hear enough encouragement.

Showing people appreciation and a sense of importance builds trusts in the company. All relationships are built on trust, and it goes both ways. Companies that aren’t afraid to show appreciation for employee performance build more loyal employees. Loyal employees are more likely to be thankful for their job.

Share Your Knowledge

If time is money, then it’s valuable to share what you know and what you’ve learned with your employees. Managers and owners get busy and focused on their jobs, but think about what wisdom or expertise you can pass on to the people in the company.

“When your expertise helps the entire team, you become a more valuable part of it,” writes Forbes contributor Chrissy Scivicque. “Your presence is worth more for the organization — and that can translate into tangible rewards and real dollars.”

If leaders can convey what they know in a modest manner, they are able to give employees an opportunity to increase their knowledge base as well. Within the big picture it’s easy to forget to connect with the people who make the company what it is today.

Do you think your employees feel proud to work for the company they’ve chosen to work for?  What is your philosophy on generosity? Leave us a comment below.


Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek