Do you want to move ahead? Do you want a promotion? A raise? Are you the competitive type who wants to climb to the top of the heap? Well if you haven’t accomplished it yet, here’s your chance to learn the one, singular lesson you need to make it all happen.
The secret is simple. It’s thousand of years old. And you don’t need to go to a seminar or spend hours in training to learn it.
The secret is this:
If you want your dreams to come true, make the dreams of others come true first.
Does that sound trite to you? Overly simplistic, perhaps? Self-evident? Well you may be right. But my guess is that you know it so deeply you almost miss its power and impact.
This is a simple play on the words of Jesus, “Love others as you’d like to be loved yourself.”
The author would not agree that his words were meant to help you get ahead of others. They’re not. But the philosophy – or in this case, the bit of theology – applies nonetheless.
Some call it “servant leadership”: an excellent expression. But let’s take this idea back to the office – back to making personal progress.
We’ve been trained, directly or indirectly, that power is accumulated by holding your cards close to the vest. That training others will eventually lead to your replacement. That only you really know “how to do it.” This kind of thinking leads to one thing: stagnation.
Your job as leader is to invest in the success of others. Moreover, your job as leader is to make something happen. By definition, you are to create growth and move things forward. There is little leadership in maintaining the status quo. If you want to shine, build others up. Train them. Thank them. Recognize them. Invest everything you’ve got in their success. This is what helps the people grow. In turn, they make the organization grow. The result of all of this is you grow right along with them.
Investing in others doesn’t just feel good; it works. But you’ve got to be consistent and sincere about it. Otherwise, you’ll be back – to watching your own back.
Here’s how to start growing your employees:
- Stop giving him the answers. Oblige him to devise his own solutions
- Give her the latitude to try. Your way is certainly one way to get something done. What’s hers?
- Give him autonomy. Autonomy means freedom to act on his own
- Give her authority. Give her your permission to take these actions
- Give him responsibility. With authority comes responsibility. If the project fails, share the responsibility. If it succeeds, pass along all of the glory
- Allow space for mistakes. You made/make/will make them. Be gracious to others when they make their own.
So, future superleader: want to get ahead? Want to make your mark? The surest, fastest way for you to achieve your dreams is to help others reach theirs.
The best self-service is always found in the service of others.