Philanthropy is an untapped leadership tool. Learn why giving back makes you a better leader and transforms your results.
Recently, I was asked these questions:
Is there a connection between my effectiveness as a leader and what I give?
How does giving make me a better transformational leader?
As you can tell by the title of this post, there is no doubt that giving back makes you a better leader. And I’m going to get into the reasons that giving makes you a better leader a little later. First, I want to talk about the three things that you can give.
Did you know that you only have three things that you can give as a leader? It doesn’t matter whether you’re the richest person in the world or someone living in poverty. We all have some version of the same three things. And these are the only three things that we have to give.
Are You Ready to Give? Your Three Things
As I mentioned, we each have three things to give. Learning what these three things are and how to give them will make you a greater leader. Understanding them will help you transform ordinary results into extraordinary results.
I want to put you in a mindset to transform your results with this idea of giving. But first, let’s dive into the three things that you have to give.
The Three T’s
There are three Ts of contribution:
Each of these gifts is important and can make a positive impact for your team, your community, and the world.
As a leader, your time is valuable. There are finite hours in the day. Most of us are stretched to fit every task into our work week, without giving up a healthy work/life balance. Your time is one of the most impressive examples of commitment. It’s choosing to devote your energy and hours toward goals outside of yourself and your company.
While money is important to fund initiatives, the causes you champion also need volunteers. There are so many fantastic causes that improve lives, locally and globally. They can’t fulfill their missions without the time commitment from talented, giving people.
How does giving your time make you a better transformational leader?
First, it fulfills you on a personal level. There is something deeply satisfying about giving your time to a cause. It becomes more personal than committing funds. Second, it is a fantastic example to your team.
They can see your commitment to your core values. As a leader, the example you set is contagious. Giving your time inspires others to devote themselves to your cause and causes they champion independently.
Talent is an immense gift to give. No one else has the same exact experience, talent, and abilities as you do. Committing these contributions to a cause gives you a sense of purpose.
You know that you’ve contributed in a way that is both beneficial and unique. At the same time, you’ve given something truly valuable to help fulfill the mission of the organization you support.
How does giving your talent make you a better transformational leader?
Like giving your time, offering your talent fulfills you in a more personal way. Your talents are things that only you can offer. As a leader, it’s important to consider what talents you are giving to your team. Are you using your talents to help your organization succeed in a meaningful way?
When most people talk about giving, they focus on the last of the three Ts. Treasure, or money, is the first thing people think of when the subject of giving comes up. While it’s a substantial way to give back to the community, or support worthy causes, it’s not the only way.
When we think in terms of giving to our teams as a leader, or being an example to the world, treasure can make an amazing impact. Programs and initiatives can’t move forward without financial support.
How does giving your treasure make you a better transformational leader?
Supporting your team with the right financial investment is also important. The resources they have will help them perform their jobs better and feel valued by the company. The ability to support causes that your team champions gets them involved in giving on a greater scale that inspires growth.
As a company, you can have a much bigger impact than a single individual. It builds a culture of giving and teamwork that your staff will appreciate and take with them, throughout their journey in your company and even on to their next opportunities.
Why Giving Is Important for Business and Leadership
When we talk about the three Ts, it’s not just about how you can give to the community. You should also realize that as a leader, you’re giving to your own employees and organization. If you want to grow as a transformational leader, you need to continue to ask yourself how you’re going the extra mile. How are you supporting your team? How are you contributing your talent and time to support your people?
Are you offering everything that they need to flourish?
As a leader, you’re not just running a business. You’re responsible for the mission and vision of that business. How it impacts your employees, clients, and the world. And the best way to make a truly great impact is by honoring your own core values.
The core values of your company should match your own personal values. For the work to truly mean something to you, it needs to align with your personal values. Then, when you work toward the goals of the company, you’re also working toward larger goals that you believe in deeply and you’re living in your purpose.
Great leaders have passion for what they do. And that passion comes from living your purpose.
Why Is It Important for Leaders to Give Back?
Giving is part of the law of circulation. Let’s break down what the spiritual Law of Circulation is and why it’s important for a transformational leader.
When you think about it, you realize that you can’t just breathe in. You have to breathe out, too. Breathing, of course, is part of the circulation process for the body. When you breathe in and out, there is circulation. And that process helps put oxygen in our blood, which keeps us alive.
The same process that works for our body works in the larger world. Our time, talent, and resources work like oxygen. When we contribute these things, we contribute to the law of circulation. This law indicates that all the blessings that we send out will come back to us.
As Mary Morrissey, the founder of the Brave Thinking Institute, likes to say, “You can’t outgive the universe.”
But why does this make you a better transformational leader?
Here’s the deal. When you find something that you truly believe in. When you find something that matters outside of yourself, something magical happens. It happens when you find a purpose or support a cause, when you find something that you believe in to support.
When I wake up and my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m ready to take another step in leading an organization that matters to me. I’m not just serving my own goals. It’s not just punching a clock or completing a workday for my own benefit. I’m serving larger goals that matter to me. I’m serving the initiatives of the people who are counting on us as an institute. My work supports the causes I believe in and that this institute believes in.
How Leaders Can Give Back
At the Brave Thinking Institute, we give to several causes we believe in. One of those is the Unstoppable Foundation, founded by Cynthia Kersey. The Unstoppable Foundation is doing great work. They help women in the Maasai Mara part of Kenya.
Women supported by the Unstoppable Foundation are empowered to build a full life because they have great medical care and outstanding education. Their work includes helping these women to grow food and run their own businesses so that the community can be fully self-sustaining.
In this region, people normally wouldn’t have access to good medical care, education, or even food. So, for me as a leader, I know that it’s not only my own dreams and goals that I’m supporting through my work. It’s not only the people working in my organization who are depending on me to be my best each day. There is a wider community outside of my organization that counts on my commitment.
There are full communities, towns, and villages that are hoping that I give my best today. And giving in this way absolutely helps me raise the ceiling on my own dedication. It fuels my own desire and helps me to focus on what it is that I’m bringing to the day.
I am a better leader today because I know that I’ve chosen to dedicate myself to something that matters beyond my own dreams and goals. Helping to serve the dreams and goals of others in a way that matters absolutely makes a difference in my own life.
Why Giving Is So Important
A few years ago, my brother and I made a decision to build a family a home in Mexico. During that phase of my career, I really started to take stock of how I was giving. And that family made a huge difference in my thinking.
Every morning, I got up and thought, “Man, I better go do a good job today because it’s not just me. It’s not just my family that is depending on me to be my best. But that other family is depending on me to come through. Wall by wall. Brick by brick. Stone by stone, I’m helping them to build a home to keep their family safe.”
I can tell you that Mary Morrissey is right. You can’t outgive the universe.
At every turn, I have been blessed. I have been blessed in part because of my willingness to give. So I don’t tell you those stories to impress you, but to impress upon you the law of circulation. You have time, talent, and treasure. Even if you don’t have much or feel like you have enough. We each have these three things, often more than we think.
How are you contributing your time, talent, and treasure?
Mastering Leadership Lessons
Transformational leadership isn’t something you’re born with. Some people are more naturally gifted as leaders, but the best leaders also continue to learn throughout their lives.
It’s not only learning what they need to do but learning what they should avoid doing. Leaders learn through experience, and they are humble enough to know that they don’t know everything. They continue to learn and foster an environment for greater growth in everyone they lead.
Finding opportunities to give back has been an important aspect of my own growth as a transformational leader. If you’d like to learn more about developing the skills it takes to become a truly great leader, download my free eBook 22 Great Qualities of a Transformational Leader.