Archive for November, 2012

Make Others Better

Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson once said. “A great manager has the ability to make a player think that he is better than he is. He convinces you to have confidence in yourself. He lets you know that he believes in you, and before long you discover talent that you never knew you had.”

Coaches often talk of certain players on their team ‘who make others around them better.’ Meaning that this one individual elevates the performance of his or her teammates. That’s powerful stuff.

To me, this is one of the simple keys to great leadership. Can you make those around you perform better? Can you draw out from them talents and abilities that others might not be able to? Can you identify what makes those around you respond positively, what motivates them to exceed expectations?  Great leaders understand that not all individuals respond to criticism the same way, not all individuals respond to praise the same way. Not all individuals are motivated by the same things. So, the question is, as a leader will you invest the time to identify what makes the people around you do what they do?

Often times, leaders are reluctant to make better those that work with and for them. Why? Because we’re afraid that one day they will be better than are we and will take our job or our position. It’s the wrong attitude to have, but it’s understandable because it’s human nature. We want to protect what we have. But a good leader can only be as strong as the weakest member of his team. So should you build up others around you, or keep them down?

I do want to make a distinction here. I’m all for making certain that the newbies and young people on your staff, team, department, EARN their way up the proverbial ladder. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I hadn’t performed all the seemingly menial tasks along the way. But I was fortunate in a number of my positions during my younger years that I had mentors who were not threatened by my talent, my ability or my determination. I know how confident I felt when a superior trusted me with an important task or project. I know how I felt when he demonstrated that he knew what was important to me and what my strengths and weaknesses were. I also remember how I felt when I was taken under the proverbial wing to expand my professional capabilities or was shown how to deal with something that was not listed on my job description.

As a senior administrator for 15 years, I tried to return the favor. And the amazing thing is, it’s remarkable how hard people will work for you and with you when they know that you have their best interests at heart. When you try to bring out the best in others, they want to prove to you that you’re confidence in them is not misplaced. It’s a powerful tool, but it can’t be applied just for the sake of getting something in return. It’s got to be done with sincerity, determination, and consistency.

So, again I ask, should you build up others around you, or should you keep them down?

Posted by on November 28th, 2012 No Comments