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One of the core characteristic that I think are possessed by the top leaders in our industry is an attribute that many do not associate with leadership in business. When we think of strong leader, we typically think of executives who are aggressive and self-assured. We think of people who are driven, actionable, and goal-oriented. But, if there's one necessary ingredient to being a great leader that doesn't typically come to mind, it's compassion.
Great leaders lead with compassion. They care about their employees, they care about their customers, and they care about society. Why is compassion so important? I think it all goes back to this simple adage: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Compassion is a door opener—it builds trust like nothing else. When it comes to strengthening relationships with people, it's better than confidence and it's better the competence. Compassion is what gets people behind you—and you can't exactly be a leader if no one is following you.
Our industry could use more compassion. As many other industries in the financial sector, ours can sometimes be viewed as cold and calculated—all about the bottom line. Of course, like any company in the market, we are highly interested in the bottom line. But the bottom line isn't strengthened by caring solely about the bottom line; it's strengthened as a byproduct of caring about the people who help us achieve a greater bottom line. We need to become more well-known for the compassion we exude in our dealings with employees, customers and the public. If anything is going to save our industry and strengthen it for the future, it's going to begin with compassion.
David Lykken is 40-year mortgage industry veteran who has been an owner operator in three mortgage banking companies and a software company. As a former business owner/operator, today David loves helping C-Level executives and business owners achieve extraordinary results via consulting, coaching and communications, with the objective of eliminating corporate dysfunction, establishing and communicating a clear corporate strategy while focusing on process improvement and operational efficiencies resulting in increased profitability. David has been a regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News and currently hosts a successful weekly radio program, “Lykken on Lending,” that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. He produces a daily one-minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper Web sites across America. He may be reached by phone at (512) 501-2810 or by e-mail at email@example.com.