True leaders do everything it takes to help the people they are responsible for succeed. They recognize the gifts and talents of their people, and they nurture this talent to help them pursue their maximum potential. They realize that their position provides them a unique opportunity to be responsive to the hopes, needs, dreams, and goals of the people they lead. They also understand that if they can tap into this talent, incredible goals can be accomplished individually, collectively as a team, and organizationally.
Some leaders reach a level or title of leadership and do not know how to coach and nurture their people. I believe there are at least 4 things that we can do as leaders to help people in our sphere of influence succeed:
- Take time to identify the strengths and talents of your people – This seems like a basic starting point for all leaders, yet many leaders don’t know the strengths of their people. As a leader, how can you ever expect to accomplish anything through people if you don’t know how to tap into their gifts? You have to know your people in order to assign them to the right roles and design the right environment for them to thrive and for collective goals to be accomplished.
- Encourage your people – Every year, new surveys come out indicating how people are not receiving any kind of significant feedback about their performance. The stats have definitely increased with newer generations entering the workforce and wanting more feedback, but this issue is not just a generational one. When leaders take time to encourage people about what they are doing right, performance improves and core values are reinforced. We don’t need to be like the crusty old leader who, when asked by an employee if he was doing a good job said, “Well, I signed your paycheck today, didn’t I?” Performance feedback should be more than a signed paycheck!
- Be a great designer – If you truly know your people and know what needs to be accomplished, you can become a great designer as a leader. In other words, you become like the best coaches who design the right play to put people in a position to “score.” While designing takes an investment of time initially, the returns on that investment can be exponential in terms of retention, customer/client impact, and the growth of your people and organization.
- Become visible and then invisible – As a leader, the best leaders become active in the lives of their people. Initially, there may be more teaching and directing and guiding in a person’s life to help them develop. As they become skilled, competent, and confident in their role, a leader becomes invisible. No, they don’t literally become invisible, and they don’t suddenly disappear from that person’s life. They become invisible by getting out of the way and letting that person make their imprint. The leader transitions to a role of coach and facilitator and allows the person they have been leading to succeed, while still giving advice, wisdom, and providing a sounding board when prompted or necessary.
In my work as a peak performance coach to high performing and high potential leaders in sports, business, and life, I have learned that great performances are a puzzle to be solved. Knowing what activates and motivates the people you lead and coach is the first step to helping them, and being fully present in their lives helps them to know you believe in them and helps them to push the limits of what they ever dreamed was possible!
What other things would you add to this list to help people succeed?