A humble leader steps aside so that others can run by and seize the prize of their own greatness. But just how is this done? Here are nine ways (and there may be more):
- Assume the best of others. Leaders who expect the best of others exert a powerful influence. Don’t measure, categorize, and classify people and the jobs they perform.
- Learn to listen. The apostle James, a great follower of Jesus, wrote, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” He’s saying “Leaders, pay attention, don’t be distracted and try to understand before you respond.”
- Reward honest communication. How do you react when someone tells you bad news? Do you commend the truth-bearer even when the news is negative?
- Admit your mistakes. Humble and open leaders show vulnerability. How often (or how quickly) do you say, “I was wrong”? It allows your team to breathe and grow,
- Commit to developing others. This takes personal commitment and desire. It means taking the time to know people—their preferences, skills and goals.
- Share the dream. Openly share your vision and goals with your people. Your vision is not something to hide. Sharing it with others helps them to understand what they need to do to contribute—how their strengths can work to help you and the team succeed.
- Seek commitment. Once your vision is clearly understood you can begin to draw people in who are committed to it. Good leaders understand the need to develop committed people.
- Set goals. Developing people’s potential (and then being open to their ideas) involves setting mutually-agreed upon goals. Individuals need to know if they are meeting the standard.
- Reward and recognize. Make people feel appreciated. What systems (especially those that don’t include money, but include something personal for the individual) have you put into place?
Unleashing greatness in others is a proven and effective way to build and grow your team and your organization. Once people sense your commitment to them, their loyalty, work effort, and attitudes will dramatically change. As a leader you move from critical analytics to what Seth Godin refers to as a “linchpin.” You are setting people free to use their God-given strengths and you are there to help, encourage, teach, mentor and applaud.