How Does A Leader “Add Value”?

At Leadercast, John Maxwell used mathematical terms to describe simple leadership.

He says leaders “add value” every day.

We are in “add value” businesses. We take lumber and cut it, split it, treat it, nail it, paint it, staple it, notch it, chamfer it into a product that people want to buy. We add further value by shipping it, delivering it on time. We make sure it isn’t contaminated. We will add tags to make sure it can be inventoried and paid for at a retail center. We send accurate bills so that it can be paid for timely. We add value in presenting our product.

It is a lean concept that we “add value.” The lean theorists says customers only want to pay for actions or features that add value to the product. Everything else is waste.

How does a leader “add value”?

How about an encouraging word or smile that lifts a spirit?

Catching someone doing something correctly and reinforcing the excellent work?

How about coaching someone on a better way to accomplish a task?

How about teaching someone a concept they haven’t learned before or presenting a topic in a way that the student connects?

How about making a decision that furthers progress and gives direction?

How about patiently listening to a colleague as she describes a problem?

How about asking a good question that helps someone to think differently?

How about recommend a book or a podcast to listen to which will help inspire them?

A favorite story of mine is about basketball player Karl Malone. He was known for being very professional about going about his responsibilities on the court. He was highly respected.

He was asked once how he developed such a great attitude. He told a story about a teaching from his mother. “She always used to tell me, ‘Karl, make sure they are always glad to see you coming.'”

Do people light up when you enter the room or the conversation? Do they pay attention to what you have to say? That’s adding value as you lead.