It’s About Their Leadership, Not Yours
More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tzu said this of great leaders:
A leader is best when people barely know he exists...and when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ - Lao-Tzu
As you and I zero in on our personal growth as leaders, it is so easy to think that our success will increase only when we become bigger and better and brighter. But, our leadership skills really only make an impact when we increase our ability to attract, grow, and empower other leaders with us. Then, like Lao-Tzu says, we will fade into the background of their success.
Many times I am guilty of this common leadership trap: thinking that my success is only measured by my leadership. Sometimes I forget that success happens only when other leaders with us are raised up.
Why? Because there is only one of you and me. But there could be thousands of them with us. If you want to see immeasurable success in your life, grow yourself with one goal in mind: growing others. Let them carry the torch. You fade away, only to appear when you are needed to serve.
As leaders, it is easy to steal the show.
We should not steal the show. When you have the top position, or the top moral standing in your group, it is natural to take center stage. After all, you are aiming to lead. But when we do that, we prevent others from growing and becoming better leaders.
But what about these voices in our heads?
- I am a better leader. We will go farther if I lead.
- Because of my position, it will be easier if I lead.
- It is good to have one unifying figure (me).
- I want to be the one to take the leadership opportunities because I want to grow my leadership.
- I think I can better navigate tricky situations and spare the team pain.
These may hold true sometimes, but if you want to see your team or organization grow, you must quiet these voices, and step back so others can rise.
If you don’t have great leaders around you, you will not go anywhere worthwhile.
I am always amazed and overjoyed when I see great leaders who work with me take center stage and lead. These are “wow moments” for me. In those moments, I have hope. In those moments, I have courage. In those moments, I can dream big. Not because I will save the day, but because those with me—capable leaders, gentle human beings who have chosen to fight next to me—are coming alongside me and leading well. They will forge the future. I am there to protect them, love them, and serve them.
Actionable Step: Remind yourself often that it is the strength of the leaders with you that will ultimately lead to a meteoric rise of your team or organization. In my next article, I will share with you practical steps on how to grow leaders.
What I Am Reading Now: Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo
For Further Reading: