The Quintessential Leader Always Lends a Helping HandQuintessential leaders are always looking for ways to practically help other people whose paths intersect with ours. This is part of the integrity of our character and the authenticity of who we are.

What this means practically is that we are conscious and continual observers of all the people we cross paths with, whether it’s just one time, occasionally, frequently, or continually. It also means that we have a heightened awareness of all situations and genuine needs that arise in these relationships.   

In other words, quintessential leaders are always paying attention for opportunities where we can practically lend a helping hand to others.  

Quintessential leaders don’t look at these opportunities as a burden, nor do we look at them as a one-time obligation that we check off a list and move on from. Because quintessential leaders are teambuilders and relationship builders, we stay involved and we keep lending helping hands with the goal of assisting others to be able to stand on their own again, so that they can then lend a helping hand to the people who cross their paths in life.

Quintessential leaders do this all their lives. They prefer to be anonymous, in the background, and quietly providing the practical help that others need. The greatest satisfaction for quintessential leaders is to see those we’ve endeavored to persistently help along the way in practical ways succeed and move into a position where they are able to help others.

What are some ways that quintessential leaders practically lend a helping hand to others?

You more than likely will never know about any of this because quintessential leaders never talk about what they are doing (we don’t take out billboards, literally or virtually, and announce it to the world) for others. Instead, we just do it, freely, modestly, and continuously lending our hands whenever and wherever there’s a genuine need that we can fill.

However, because we are striving to be quintessential leaders all the time, we need to know the what and the how of what practically lending a helping hand to others so that they can get back on their feet and pay it forward looks like in practice.

There are impractical and practical ways to lend a helping hand.

If (and this seems to be an increasingly rarer “if” in our “what’s in it for me?” society, where most people either simply don’t care, are totally oblivious to the needs of others, or they glance at needs and then promptly forget that the needs ever existed) people are inclined to lend a helping hand, the help is often short-term and immediate (impractical in the big scheme of things because it doesn’t address the root cause of the need), instead of long-term and big-picture (practical because it works to lessen or eliminate the root cause of the need).

So we’re going to look at a few practical ways that we can lend a helping hand to others and show how quintessential leaders use all our networks to enhance our help and work to reduce and eliminate the need.

This, by the way, was supposed to be the functional outcome of professional networking and social networking, but both have failed miserably.

Professional network to lend a helping handThese networks, however, have ended up being nothing more than, in the first case, a closed club with a college sorority/fraternity feel involving bar meetups to drink and hook up, and, in the second case, social-networksa closed inner group of select people (the wider group of contacts and friends is off the grid and nobody even notices – it’s as though they were never there) who just hang out with each other all day.

The first way that quintessential leaders practically lend a helping hand is by volunteering their time and expertise whenever and wherever they find people in need. They create opportunities to volunteer by establishing and actively participating in specific groups to meet specific needs.

Throughout their sustained efforts in making these groups a place for information, education, and help, quintessential leaders also invite and respond Quintessential leaders volunteer to lend a helping handto ongoing individual needs within the groups. 

While most people aren’t even aware of it, quintessential leaders always spend a lot of one-on-one time with individuals within the group when the needs arise, with the goal of lessening the burden for those individuals and helping where they are able in a practical and proactive way.

Another area where quintessential leaders are constantly practically lending a helping hand is in the area of helping people who are looking for employment and financial stability. These are tied inextricably together, but it seems that society, in general, doesn’t realize this. 

There are a few people who see the financial aspect of someone looking for employment and they give a little bit of money to the person. While this is appreciated, there is a better and more practical way to lend a helping hand in terms of the long-term and big picture need, which is employment and being financially self-supporting.

There’s an old saying that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life. There’s an parallel in this saying that applies to someone looking for employment and financial stability.

As noble and as kind as the gesture is, the reality is that handing somebody who’s looking for a job a little bit of money doesn’t give them employment or financial stability. In fact, it usually, at least emotionally and mentally, makes things worse for that person.

Why?

There are several reasons:

  1. A one-time small amount of money doesn’t pay the bills;
  2. The person doesn’t want to freeload or mooch, but instead work and earn the money they receive;
  3. The money doesn’t – and can’t – address the long-term and big picture need of employment or financial stability.

So let’s talk about better and more practical ways to lend a helping hand to someone who is looking for employment and financial stability instead.

Anybody who is looking for employment has undertaken a full-time job. It’s a job with no pay, a substantial time investment, mostly silence or rejection as the outcome, and a hiring process that makes Dante’s hell seem like a stroll in the park

Quintessential leaders lend a practical helping hand to people looking for employment in the following concrete ways:

  1. Engaging with the people looking for employment to know what their skills and experience are, what areas they are looking for, and what their soft skills are.
  2. Getting resume or website links from people looking for employment and actually reading them.
  3. Sending the resume or website links to their professional contacts with a brief summary of qualifications, areas of competence, as well as a recommendation (i.e., a reference) and a request for a time-delimited followup. If their professional contacts don’t do the followup, quintessential leaders do, both as a reminder and as an advocate for those looking for employment.
  4. If there’s interest, setting up a face-to-face for the potential employer and potential employee to meet.

What does impractical look like (although some of these are the best people know how to offer – which is why we all need the education provided in this post – if you want to make people’s employment searches even more frustrating and hopeless, do any or all of these)?

  1. Reviewing the resume or website links and saying “Oh, that’s great experience” or making suggestions to change it, but doing absolutely nothing else with it.
  2. Indicating, by a weak or lackluster response, that you’re not going to go out of your way to do anything with the information.
  3. Promising that you’ll do something and then promptly and forever forgetting about it.
  4. “Advising” people looking for employment in a way that is condescending (when this is a person’s full-time job, they’ve already turned over every rock we can think of and many we can’t even imagine) or deceptive (dishonesty in any form is unacceptable – if we suggest it, we are definitively not quintessential leaders).
  5. Sending generic newspaper articles or job fair notices of hiring that you’re not connected to and don’t have any direct influence (or interest) with to people looking for employment.
  6. Giving people “leads” on jobs they aren’t remotely looking for, are overqualified or unqualified for, and/or are infeasible because of location differences and expense involved.

Another practical way that quintessential leaders lend a helping hand to people seeking employment and financial stability is to support their other attempts to create revenue streams and use their networks to help generate revenue from these streams.

Many people who are seeking employment and financial stability have looked at every possible avenue for earning an income and being self-sufficient. In addition to their full-time employment searches, they have put in long hours creating things of value (using skills like sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, jewelry-making, baking, confection-making, writing and self-publishing books to educate and inform, etc.) to offer for purchase, so that they can not only earn the money they receive, but the person who pays gets something of value in return.

Esty revenue stream lend a helping handThese items are generally sold through venues Amazon lend a helping handlike Etsy or Amazon, where the seller gets a fraction of the purchase price for each item sold (for example, for a $10 printed book, Amazon authors get less than $2 in payment, while they do not get anything for the Kindle version unless someone buys it after purchasing the hard copy).

Quintessential leaders invest the time and interest to find out if people looking for employment have these kinds of items for sale. If they do, instead of handing cash to these people, quintessential leaders lend a practical hand by:

  1. Committing to buying their products (once every three months, for example);
  2. Reviewing the item at the purchasing site;
  3. Getting a firm commitment from a certain number of people in their social and professional networks to buy the item and asking those people to do the same with their social and professional networks and to pass the same instructions on with each iteration of getting social and professional networks involved in the process.

This is win-win all the way around. The people purchasing are getting something of value at a great price. With enough volume from the cumulative social and professional networking and purchasing, the people selling are actually earning the money they receive and it may give them enough financial stability to be able to hang in there until employment materializes. Or it may lead to something totally different that opens new doors and new opportunities for the person who is seeking employment.

Most importantly, it gives these people the ability to pay forward being able to practically lend a helping hand to the people in their lives.

As always, we as quintessential leaders need to look in our own mirrors to see how – or whether – we are doing.

Do we practically lend a helping hand to other people? Or are we guilty of being impractical in our attempts to help, pulling further down the very people we should be making every effort in our power (and we have a lot, but it takes our attention, our time, and our effort) to pull up?

What are we doing? How are we doing?

Comments
  1. iammarchhare says:

    I hear this a lot: “There’s an old saying that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.” Yet, I wonder if it isn’t abused at times? True, teach a man to fish and he’ll be fed for a lifetime, but if he is hungry, he will probably eat the bait.

    I don’t know where it comes from, but I’ll counter with the parable, “A hungry cat makes a poor hunter.” There is a similar Indian proverb that goes, “A hungry stomach makes a short prayer.”

    I often hear criticisms of groups that feed the hungry and invite them (not force them, which some admittedly do) to hear their version of the message of salvation. However, one thing that has always stuck with me was when one time someone said, “They will not be able to hear the message if they are cold, tired and hungry.”

    I have given as I was able, but even I will admit that fear has sometimes led me to shrink back from helping total strangers. I have reaped much because you sow what you reap, but how much more could it have been had I simply tried a little harder?

    Bottom line hits both sides in that you cannot teach a hungry man to fish, and the fisherman cannot be so proud to not accept it. I hope I have learned to not try to be in either state.

    • I agree with you, in general, John, but I was using that particular saying to parallel the difference between helping in a short-term, immediate way (especially with the people who are in our lives and we know of their on-going situations) – which is fine if their needs will be met soon and this is just something to tide them over until then – or in a long-term, big-picture way (by helping them eliminate the need)

      I’ve always helped strangers in practical ways. I remember at the Feast one year, as Mom and I were getting in the car one night after getting some groceries, a man came over and emptied his pockets to show me less than $10 and asked if I would help him out so he could get food and diapers for his baby because he wouldn’t get paid until a couple of days later. His wife and baby were in the car and he introduced me to them. I took Mom and him back in the store and bought them what they needed, along with some food for him and his wife to tide them over until he got paid.

      Mom asked me afterwards if I thought it was legitimate. I told her I didn’t know, but if it wasn’t, the responsibility was on him, not me (and, practically, there wasn’t much he could do with diapers and baby food to get money for anything else).

      When strangers approach me and ask me for money for food, I always offer to buy them a meal. If they refuse, then they’re not really hungry, but I’ve had quite a few take me up on it.

      And that’s the point of this post. Practical help. We all have networks of people we know (I’ve always helped people where I can who are looking for jobs, professional help, you name) that we can enlist to help others in practical ways even if we personally can’t do anything, but we don’t think in those terms. We think small, if we think at all, but most of us just put our heads down and pretend the needs don’t exist so we don’t have to do anything at all.

      The hardest parts are when people can help in practical ways and won’t because they either don’t think about it or they decide they don’t want to do anything about it and when they make promises to help and they don’t follow through. This happens more than it ever should.

      • iammarchhare says:

        “when they make promises to help and they don’t follow through.” And, don’t get me wrong, as I got that part of your message. Frankly, it is nothing less than lying, and unfortunately that is an acceptable thing in our society. I just got back from the store, and on the radio they were saying that statistics show that about 95% of Americans cannot go one week without lying and that a full 5% do it every day!

      • You’re right, John, about the dishonesty part. Better not to say anything than to make promises and not keep them. It doesn’t matter whether the intention is good or not. It doesn’t matter whether the person just forgets. The bottom line is that anything we say we will do, barring unforeseen circumstances (there should be an explanation as to why we can’t do it, not silence), we make every effort to do.

        I believe that most people don’t take commitments, promises, or relationships with others seriously. There’s no long-term commitment to people, for the most part, anymore. We’ve allowed ourselves to become superficial and in-the-moment, and we’ve abandoned one of the most important aspects of being human: building, maintaining, and persevering in our relationships with others. It just doesn’t matter anymore, it seems. People, like everything else in our society, have become a disposable commodity.

        That’s why lying is the norm…it just doesn’t matter to most people…and there’s a systemic lack of awareness that they’re even lying (no matter how often those of us who work hard to be honest in every aspect of our lives catch the stream of lies that seem to pour out of people’s mouths).

  2. edna million says:

    Great advice! I had no idea about the 0 earnings from Kindle books, although I knew the revenues would have to be very small considering how little they charge. Is that just for people who are publishing via Amazon? That’s very alarming.

    • Thank you, Edna! It’s common-sense, but I think that ship, for the most part, sailed a long time ago.

      It’s true with all the self-publishing venues. In fact, with Amazon, at times, especially with Prime customers, the books are free, so it’s hit and miss for self-published authors. The advantage of self-publishing on the web, though, is that it’s free to do (so no initial costs), whereas if you self-publish with a company it’s $3000 or $4000, easily.

      The only way to make any money, though, is to sell in volume, and authors need networking help with that and it doesn’t cost the networkers anything to encourage – and get commitment from – just a small number of people in their networks and have those networks do the same, and so on. It just takes a little time and effort to get the commitment, but it goes a long way.

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