By Linda Fisher Thornton
While the true purpose of leadership has been debated, most people would agree that it includes bringing out the best in people and organizations. Some of the ways that we can bring out the best in others include trust building, supporting, guiding, coaching, team building and removing barriers to good work. While these leadership roles may seem low-key, they are the critical behaviors that lead to strong cultures and productive organizations.
“We Intentionally lead in ways that bring out the positive potential of people and organizations. We lead to bring out their best every day.”
Examples of Bringing Out Their Best
What does it look like when we bring out the best in others? It could be compared to the work of the sculptor, who sees a piece of rough stone and imagines the beautiful work of art that lies within the stone. Chiseling thoughtfully and persistently, that sculptor releases the work of art one bit at a time.
Bringing out people’s best includes big things like:
- redesigning work flow to make jobs easier
- helping people develop new skills, or
- guiding the team in how to work together respectfully
…and small things like:
- letting people know how much they are appreciated
- being willing to pitch in and help when things get busy, or
- being available when people need to discuss a problem
We can bring out the potential in others by identifying a natural talent that they may not have realized they had, by helping them pursue their chosen calling, or by just being the kind of leader who knows how to listen and respond in supporting ways. No matter what we are doing to bring out people’s best, they can tell when we care. They can tell that we have their best interests at heart, and truly want them to succeed.
Leadership is not about us. It’s about being a catalyst for positive things “beyond us,” including bringing out the best in people and organizations.
Originally published on the Leading in Context Blog September 18, 2013
Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC and one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Her new book is 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership. Linda@LeadinginContext.com