Almost any form of neglect or inattention can be destructive. It is even more disappointing when it comes from individuals who should have the aptitude and awareness to know when there are neglectful conditions present. To be clear, neglect is not simply the denial of someone’s existence or condition. On a broader scale neglect very much involves the lack of being fully present and the acknowledgement that an organization’s greatest asset is its people.
Organizations are not just spreadsheets, organizational charts, buildings, collateral material, and strategic plans. Organizations are no better than the people who make them up. The people represent hopes, dreams, failures, and triumphs. These people comprise families, regrets, deaths, divorces, and financial challenges. The people that make up great organizations represent so much more than a salary range, work outcomes, and office space. They are the capital!
Why is this important? Because every leader must understand that how they handle the most precious capital within the organization impacts the height on the return on investment. Any leader who mishandles people, omits the stories behind each name, and neglects to build relationships with its people limits its ability to effectively lead.
Current waves of leadership indicate that many leaders are inundated with keeping the budget out of the red, presenting big visions to its constituents and growing the organization. These arduous tasks can easily place the necessity of people-development on the back burner.
If there is no specific strategic organizational plan to develop its most important elements, the organization will not sustain a budget out of the red, never accomplish its big vision, and will shrink the organization rather than grow it.
Sitting with an attentive ear to hear long stories, getting involved in the complicated lives of people, and overlooking the layers behind each face takes time, interest, and compassion. All things that many leaders struggle to have and find. Taking the time, interest and having the compassion for people is not a new expectation for leaders.
In Isaiah 56:9-12, God rebukes and expressed extreme frustration for leaders who were irresponsible by neglecting those whom they were assigned to lead. In particular he shares,
Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory.
These potent words cut right to the heart of the neglect – selfishness!
If any leader wants to grow their organization, they must decide to overcome selfishness and move towards valuing and not neglecting its most precious commodities – its people.