Leadership Lesson 3 – It’s Not About You

By: Curt Stowers

So we started with focusing on your ideal state and then moved on to making sure everyone was aware that you were about to embark upon a journey. Time for a 180.

WIIFM. What’s In It For Me? This one simple question is at the heart of becoming a successful leader. While the first two steps focused on getting you up and running, step three is all about how you and your actions are perceived by others. But more than that, step three is all about how you actually feel and act towards others. Are you simply using them to get what you want? Or have you truly bought in to Steven Covey’s abundance mentality and are looking for ways to help others be more successful at all times?

Rule #3 – Your primary job is to make sure that everyone on your team is more successful.

This one’s a lot tougher for those of us who grew up in Western cultures versus Eastern. In the West, we see an emphasis on the individual. In the East, the focus is on the broader society. Leaders build culture through behaviors. And focusing on the group versus themselves is critical to their success. There’s a huge bit of irony in this particular point: through focusing on your team versus yourself, you’ll achieve higher degrees of success.

For many this requires a change in mindset. In the West, it’s all about winning and coming out on top. You can see it / hear it every day: “There’s no second place, just the first loser.” This kind of thinking is pervasive and is often ingrained from a very early age. Now mind you, I’m not a big fan of “finisher medals” and the cult of “everyone is a winner.” However, focusing on “taking care of #1” and leaving bodies in your wake is simply not sustainable. Again, there’s an irony in what we learn from our parents. Would a good father/mother ever pursue a path that put their family at risk for their own personal betterment? And yet, often they teach a win-at-all-costs mentality. This behavior is the antithesis of a leader. The leader makes sure that he brings the team along, and that they all share in the success.

ACTION ITEM 3 – Make a commitment to each of your staff members on how you will help them achieve their most important goal. Make sure that they are aware of the commitment, and that you follow through with your commitment.