The meaning of leadership, as a kid, was always conveyed to me as a way to better one’s life or reach a new level of success.
Leaderships was always about what it meant for the leader. When I became a leader and started reading many books on the subject, such as “Tribal Leadership,” I quickly learned that being a leader had nothing to do with my own success or career progression.
The measuring stick of a leader is the impact they have on others and the impact they have on people they lead indirectly as well as directly.
If you want the title of ‘leader,’ you must remember that with it comes the responsibility to help others achieve their version of greatness.
The crazy part is that often the greatness you help your team realize is something they are not even aware of.
Many people have hidden talents and skills that lay dormant and are only ignited when a leader comes along and reminds us of certain strengths we have which we’ve perhaps ignored, denied, or overlooked.
A leader sees your hidden strengths and then looks for more ways to bring them out so they can be used as evidence that your greatness exists.
A leader did this for me once. They saw an anxious, stressed little boy living in a man’s body who was afraid of more than just spiders. They saw someone with a voice that wasn’t like anybody else and could write words on a page that made people feel something.
I never thought I could write. Having a voice has always seemed like a goal that never showed up on my to-do list. A leader helped me see a different side. They challenged me to reimagine what life could be like if I stopped hiding and started dealing with some of my fears.
This leader caused me to write my first social media post and later attend public speaking class. It was scary at first, but they challenged me to keep working on both crafts and believed that I could overcome the struggles.
Frankly, without their belief, I’m not sure that I would have ever left my comfort zone and executed on anything. Without a leader to spark new ideas that show us what our potential really is, we keep telling ourselves we are not good enough. Thanks to this leader, a different version of myself was born.
Even to this day, when I attempt to explain to this leader what they did, they can’t see it.
In their eyes, it was me all along and they had nothing to do with it.
This is the dark art of leadership that is often not highlighted in the success reels of social media feeds and major publications.
Those leaders who help us see our greatness are hidden and continue to do their work behind closed doors seeking no appreciation or acknowledgment. This is the leader I aspire to be one day.
This leader taught me the following about bringing out greatness in others:
- Build a genuine human connection with your team
- Support your team’s personal interests outside of work
- Do the work of leader without expecting recognition
- Push your team to do things they didn’t think they could do
Your greatness as a leader comes down to whether you can bring out the greatness in your team first and foremost.