As I stood up to shake his hand, it hit me like ton of bricks. This man had come into my life for a purpose. His overwhelming love and support for my development as a professional was on display in every interaction we ever had both in good times and in bad. I felt my lip begin to quiver, the water build up in my eyes and as I took a deep breath I extended my hand and said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you will never know how big of an impact you have had on my life.” As I turned to walk out the door he said, “John, thank you, but all I have ever tried to do is be what I didn't get from my leaders as a young professional.” As I walked out of that office for the last time, what he didn’t know or hadn’t even thought of, is how much of a blessing he was on my life.
Being a strong leader is a massive blessing to your people. So the question is, As a leader, do you know how much of a blessing you are to your people? Have you thought about the long lasting impact you will have long after you are gone? Because your people may not remember everything you’ve told them, but they won’t forget the impact you had on their lives. They won’t forget that you put them first. They won’t forget you emphasized the importance of and aided them in becoming the best person, employee, citizen, spouse, and parent they could be.
With all the pressures of business and life, how can you keep the mindset of putting your people first and being the blessing they deserve?
Focus on What Goes in your Mind not what Comes out your Mouth
A great leader is more concerned with what goes in their mind than what comes out of their mouth. Become obsessed with filling your life with things that make you smarter and more enlightened. Block time on you calendar to read, listen to podcasts, pray, meditate, meet with mentors, write down things you want to emulate or avoid. Most importantly, commit to improving your mind.
Have a System for Dealing with Obstacles
Obstacles appear and challenges present themselves. The best leaders have a system in place to respond. Leadership expert Tim Knight uses this formula: Event + Response = Outcome. I use a simple 3 step system titled SRR: Stop... Reflect... React. I should get it tattooed on my arm to help me remember in the most difficult times, but for now I will stick to reciting it when needed. Whatever system works for you, use it.
Keep Your ‘Humble yet Hungry’ Hat On
Leaders tend to get all the credit when things go well and all the blame when things go wrong. Knowing that you are human and will make both good and bad decisions, it’s critical to stay humble yet hungry regardless of victories or defeats. In other words, “On your best day, you are never as good as you think you are. And on your worst day you are never as bad as you think you are.” In order to achieve more, share the glory with your people, and be the first to take blame when things go wrong.
Never Compromise Your Character
Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. It’s the behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and actions you exemplify daily. Ultimately, people follow people, not titles. If people question your mental or moral qualities, it will be a detriment to your ability to lead them. What you do at work, outside of work, on social media...it all matters. Remember people observe everything you do.
I will forever remember the leaders and those stories who have made a big impact on me and understand what a blessing it was to have them in my life. Now it’s your turn to have a similar impact on others, so please don’t only take the responsibility lightly and most importantly become the best leader you can be.
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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can follow him on Instagram or snapchat @johngeades.