She was an awkwardly shy teenager. An introvert by nature, she retreated even deeper into silence when her parents went through a particularly nasty divorce. It was her only safe place. Those who knew her began to worry about her.
But one truly influential leader took action.
He asked her to be on a team and put her in a position that showcased her strengths. In doing so, he set her up to win.
As she worked to develop those strengths even further, the team began to recognize her value. As they worked together to win championships, the experience of being valued by others on the team and the achievements helped her to heal.
She went on to have a successful corporate career and now owns a thriving business.
What made the difference?
A leader who set her up…to win.
As a leader, are you setting your people up to win, or are you just setting them up?
We all know leaders who, perhaps inadvertently, set their people up for failure. They…
- Don’t take the time to see the potential of each person and position them accordingly
- Put them in positions that don’t match their strengths
- Promote them into leadership positions without leadership training
- Fail to equip them for the work required
- Don’t communicate clear vision and expectations
- Set goals that are too aggressive
- Focus on how the team can serve them and not on how they can serve the team
- Don’t do and say things to help the team see the value of each individual
Full Circle Leadership
When it comes down to it, beyond career advancement and high levels of income, what most leaders really and truly want is to make a difference.
One of the most significant ways to make a difference is to actively seek ways to set your people up for success.
To do this, you simply reverse the failure formula above.
1. Take time to see the potential of each person, and position them accordingly. See them as they can be, not as they currently are. Often, leaders look outside the organization, when the potential best employee is already in the organization. We have become accustomed to treating employees as expendables rather than focusing on long-term career development. There is a need to reconsider this approach.
2. Put them in positions that match their strengths, but challenge them to expand the boundaries of their comfort zones. This powerful “strengths plus growth” strategy builds not only businesses, but, more importantly, individuals.
4. Equip them for the work required by providing the team, tools, and training they need. If they have ideas for improvements, give them the power and the tools to make those improvements.
5. Communicate clear vision and expectations. The best teams are those who know the game plan and their role in getting there. Assessments show a distinct correlation between lack of clarity, and low productivity and job dissatisfaction. In short, if you aren’t clear on goals and roles, your productivity, profit, and attrition rate will be impacted.
6. Set goals that are challenging but attainable. Don’t set impossible goals for your team and then disappear, leaving them to make it happen. Bosses everywhere do this, leaving a wake of frustrated employees destined for failure. It is better to reach a challenging goal than to miss an impossible one.
7. Focus on how you can serve the team, not on how they can serve you. Set the example of servant leadership as the way you do business.
8. Do and say things to help the team see the value of each individual. Help each team member find their place of achievement and value on the team. If you are looking to minimize conflict, this is one of the best ways to do it.
When your people succeed, you as the leader succeed.
But when you build your people, you succeed beyond the norms of career and financial rewards. You succeed to a level of significance. This is legacy-level leadership.
Here’s the bottom line.
Building your people builds your legacy.
Tearing down your people tears down your legacy.
Failing to build your people is failing to build your legacy.
It is your choice, and you make it daily. Will you set your people up failure or for success?
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.