Leadership Articles: TALKING LEADERSHIP


A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
January 2015   |   By Dan Gaynor

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Inspiring Possibilities

"Believing in someone else, so they can believe in themselves, is a small but hugely significant act of leadership." Carley Fiorina. Tough Choices.

As a young sales representative many years ago now, I worked for a leader who understood the power of believing in someone else so they could believe in themselves. I remember well the day he pulled me aside to tell me he wanted me to take the newspaper's largest advertiser a local Italian grocer – as my account. He told me that it would be a big responsibility and that he believed the account would be in good hands. I was very early in my career and hadn't really developed a track record yet to merit the assignment, but I was passionate about my work and I worked hard. As I recall, he closed our brief conversation with a little humour that went something like, "Now don't mess it up!"

I remember today, many years later, just how I felt about his act. He told me I could be among the best in our business. I wanted to prove him right. I didn't want to let him down. I worked very hard for that man.

Think back to someone who inspired you to be your best – maybe a boss, a coach or teacher – someone who showed you possibilities you may not have seen yourself. Don't just read past this. I want you to really pause to think about someone from your past or present – someone who really believed in you and showed you possibilities. How did he or she make you feel about your work and the team you were a part of?

When we think of vision, mission and purpose come to mind most often. While these are important, I believe there is another powerful form of vision: it is the vision good leaders have for the people they lead. They inspire others to reach higher by making it clear they believe in them. Then they come alongside as mentors to help them develop their fullest potential. These are the leaders we remember and appreciate for a very long time.

As we enter a new year full of possibilities I want to start by encouraging you to become this type of leader for the high potential members of your team. To be sure, your encouragement must be genuine. I'm not suggesting you tell every under performing team member with poor work habits that they have superstar potential, but the right encouraging words to people who deserve them is a big part of great leadership, and it will bring out the best in them. Show talented hard working team members what they can achieve then help them get there. They will will work hard to prove your confidence is well placed and follow you anywhere.

Want to go a little deeper on leadership, check out my book The Heart and Hands of Leadership: The Twelve Timeless Practices of Effective Leaders (160 pages, Kingsley Publishing) available as both soft cover and in all major e-book formats.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who was the first leader who really believed in you, saw your potential, and told you about it? How did that leader make you feel about your work?
  2. Who on your team can you do this for today?

Want to go deeper into leadership? Why not start the year off with a group workshop.

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A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
January 2015   |   By Dan Gaynor


Has this article sparked some thinking?
Join our blog Talking Leadership here to share it with other readers.


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Download our articles below:

Lead Like Scrooge, December 2017

Follow Well To Lead Well, October 2017

Fundamentals First, September 2017

Leadership from Supervisor to CEO, August 2017

Job Fit and Performance, May 2017

Thinking "Corporate", February 2017

Authenticity and Vulnerability?, November 2016

The Pain Problem, October 2016

The Big Question, September 2016

Risky Business, March 2016

Mentoring in the Moment, January 2016

Sacrificial Leadership, December 2015

5 Tactics For Better Meetings, November 2015

Leader as Follower, October 2015

Dynamic Balance, September 2015

Fearless Humility, August 2015

Fear and Accountability, July 2015

Building a Feedback Culture, June 2015

Fostering Accountability, May 2015

Confront or Avoid?, Apr. 2015

The Heart of Accountability, Mar. 2015

Powerful Ambition, Feb. 2015

Inspiring Possibilities, Jan. 2015

Ralphie and the Strategic Approach, Dec. 2014

Disagree Well, Nov. 2014

Culture and People, Oct. 2014


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