I want to bring out people’s best efforts and ideas.
Some leaders walk into a room, and everyone benefits. They believe everyone has their own unique genius, and it’s that leader’s job to recognise it and expand it. Those leaders are what Liz Wiseman calls “Multipliers” in her bestselling book by the same name. People volunteer their best efforts, come up with new ideas and find creative solutions to problems.
Fortunately, it’s possible for any leader to operate from this mindset if they adopt simple practices such as the following:
- Assume that everyone has a unique contribution below the surface that simply needs to be discovered and tapped into. Think of it as a treasure hunt with each person you encounter; look for the hidden genius they might not have seen in themselves.
- Look beyond each person’s role as a team member and see them as a unique human—a whole person.
- Become a coach instead of an advisor. When you give advice from your experience, it might not fit their experience. When you’re a coach, you’re asking questions that help them discover their own innovative ideas and solutions.
- Include open-ended questions in every conversation about their interests, wants, and opinions—those that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no.” Then clarify what they’ve said by saying, “Tell me more.” Find out what they want in their career and their life, and use it as a foundation for development.
- Connect them with mentors based on their unique areas of interest and strength to give them the potential for exponential growth.
- Provide frequent encouragement but make it specific. Instead of saying, “Great job on that report,” say, “That report was so valuable for our company because you created specific, actionable steps to make it simple to move forward. Great job.”
- Recognise people’s best efforts, even when they’re not successful. It gives them the freedom to experiment and risk safely, which makes it safe to keep innovating in the future.
- Check-in with them occasionally to see how they’re feeling about their own progress and engagement. Ask what they’re most proud of in their work from the past six months and reinforce it with your observations. People need to be noticed, valued, and feel that their ideas and contributions matter.
- Provide assignments and opportunities that stretch them from their current performance but explore their perspective to shape the process before finalising.
Leadership that brings out the best efforts in others is a learnable skill. It won’t happen overnight, but taking consistent steps will help you grow into the leader you desire to be—one that makes everyone around you better.
Learn more about FranklinCovey’s Multipliers. Watch our recent webcast here.