Who would argue with the reality that cultivating the potential for greatness is one of the most crucial priorities for any leader? And, by the way, we are all leaders! We are leaders at home, leaders at work, and leaders in multiple organizations and environments in which we are engaged.
In addition to cultivating our own potential, we should be diligently cultivating the potential of those for whom we are responsible, at home, at work, and in all other settings in which we are engaged. We can and should be cultivating the potential of our colleagues and the company for which we work. We should also be cultivating the potential of those to whom we report and those to whom we are accountable.
Think about it. By cultivating the potential of our colleagues, our company, and those to whom we report and are accountable, we automatically cultivate our own potential, both now and in the future. What a wonderful philosophy and life-long way of living… cultivating the potential of every person with whom we come in contact. Now that is true success in every sense of the word.
In chapter 8 of their new book, Ordinary Greatness, Pam Bilbrey and Brian Jones provide excellent perspective and advice regarding cultivating the potential for greatness. They state that:
- Cultivating the potential of the workforce is the greatest missed opportunity we see in today’s business world.
- Most organizations fail to see the potential of the individuals and teams within the work environment.
- We are faced with an overwhelming number of disengaged employees, an epidemic of “presenteeism” (present in body but checked-out in energy, enthusiasm and commitment), and individuals who are miserable in their jobs.
- What will it take for my employees to say at the end of each day, ‘I reached my fullest potential’?
The authors discuss, in detail, five recommended strategies to help generate valuable feedback that leaders can use to create a work environment that fully uses the skills and talents of its workforce:
- Identifying the sources of motivation
- What motivates each person? What will make that individual feel they have made a meaningful contribution?
- Understanding strengths and opportunities for development
- Successful leaders are obsessed with discovering personal strengths and opportunities for development. They know that personal mastery and greatness come from a deep understanding of self.
- Conducting aspirational conversations
- Do you know the aspirations of each of your employees? Do you know where they want their careers to go in the next five years? Aspirational conversations are ongoing dialogue between the individual and their manager focused on personal development actions to support the expansion of responsibilities, upward mobility, or new career paths.
- We have been stunned by how few leaders actually do this simple, free activity that will reap benefits forever.
- Building a strong team
- Commitment to training and development. Continual learning is becoming an increasingly important option for high-performing job seekers. In fact, recent graduates surveyed listed happiness, career development, challenging work, training and development, and a good relationship with their manager as the most important aspects of a job.
- Committing to talent greatness
- Leaders in high-performing organizations think and act differently than their counterparts in under-performing organizations when it comes to their people. They lead rather than manage, are visible, adhere to a core set of behaviors, and are personally engaged in the success of their staff.
A great mantra to keep in mind: “Your company’s leaders teach your company’s leaders how to be your company’s leaders.”
The authors end the chapter by stating that “One of the greatest joys of leadership is helping others achieve what they never thought possible.” How very, very true!
Read and study the book. You cannot help but be helped. What a wonderful philosophy and life-long way of living… cultivating the potential of every person with whom we come in contact. Now that is true success in every sense of the word.