Leadership Newsflash – it isn’t all about you!

Blog May 11What kind of leader do you aspire to be? Do you have a leadership philosophy that you work to align your behaviour with? Are you intentional about your leadership each day?

Often the leaders I work with want to be the kind of leader that inspires others. From there, they talk about wanting to know how to be that leader; what do they need to do and how do they need to perform to be that inspirational leader. This approach creates a lot of pressure to perform, be perfect and accomplish things as a leader. I am not sure that this approach works out well for most leaders.

Here is the secret to being an inspiring leader; it’s not about you at all. That’s right. Inspiring others isn’t about you being amazing, in fact it’s about how YOU make those who work for you feel about themselves.

I always gravitate back to my favourite Maya Angelou quote "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Your ability to inspire people is directly related to how you interact with those around you in a way that helps them stretch into their greatness and rise to the challenges and opportunities that you create for them. Inspiring confidence in others is where you want to focus your energy and develop your skills as a leader. This is equally, if not more important, than your ability to be a strategic thinker and visionary leader. Inspiring leaders bring everyone along on the journey with them so that together you create impact and achieve results.

So, if I still have your attention to this point, you might be wondering how to make it less about you, and more about your team. For now, I want you to focus on this specific challenge and notice what happens. Here is what I want you to do the next time your employee comes to you looking for advice and answers from you:

  1. Listen fully to what they say and let them finish their story before you speak.
  2. Ask them these three questions:
    • Is there anything else relevant to this situation that we should consider?
    • What are some possibilities here?
    • If you were me, what would you suggest we do?
  3. Empower them to act on the decision you come to.

I invite you to play with this challenge and see what happens. Stretch yourself and try this on the team member that you struggle with the most.

Take a risk, try something different and notice what happens for them and for you.

I would love to hear how this works for you. Leave a comment for all of us or send me a note and share your experience with this challenge.