Dave* was a young gun, quick on the uptake and eager to make his mark. His CEO, Bruce*, could see his huge potential. There was an exciting energy about him which you could see in his eyes.
Bruce asked him to take on a big new accountability, which was way outside Dave’s comfort zone. Dave doubted himself at first and said so. He did not want to let his boss down. But Bruce was not having any of it. He continued to believe in him.
Sure enough his faith was well placed. Dave produced outstanding results and tapped into leadership capability that he did not know he had. His career took off and he is happy to attribute his success to the faith that Bruce placed in him.
Dave is paying it forward now, giving others the opportunity to step up their leadership.
Most of us have had a similar experience where someone believed in us more than we believed in ourselves at that time.
“Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.”
~ Tom Peters ~
Why pay it forward?
You are only as good as the team you have around you. Back in the day, you may have built a reputation as a prodigious doer. You would work day and night to get the job done if necessary.
However, as a leader, you soon realise that you are going to burn out trying to do everything yourself.
Creating a team of high-performing leaders around you also frees you up to provide the game-changing leadership that your stakeholders expect. In my observation, it can double your leadership influence.
One way to create high performing leaders around you is to challenge them with a stretch objective. If you believe that they have what it takes, then you know that they will expand their leadership capability.
Paying it forward is not entirely an altruistic idea. Adam Grant in the book, Give and Take, why helping others drives our success, distinguishes the givers from the takers and matchers. Grant’s research shows that givers end up ahead in the long run.
Could you believe in someone more than they believe in themselves?
Best regards, Brian
*Names changed to protect the innocent
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