I had my twice monthly meeting with one of my leadership clients last week.
Steve is the CEO of a two-year-old tech company with a team of 60 across three continents.
He is consciously creating a culture where he wants his team to be enabled to grow, blossom and contribute their best ideas and best thinking to the success of the business. His team are really enjoying the opportunities the culture offers them.
He talked to me about something he was inviting to join his company, but the candidate was showing some reluctance.
He said that the candidate was worried that although he loved the idea of the culture Steve was creating, he thought it might be too good to be true, and he was worried that he might not be able to live up to Steve’s expectations of him
So I started talking to Steve about the difference between placing expectations on people as opposed to inviting them into a sense of possibility.
Steve was offering the candidate an invitation, but the candidate was filtering this invitation and hearing an expectation being placed on him that he feared he may not be able to live up to
The candidate was thinking in terms of succeeding or failing, but Steve offering an exciting adventure for the candidate to learn and grow and to explore what their potential was and what they might be capable of. The candidate would be supported, and in Steve’s mind, it was simply about learning, growing and removing the interference to the potential the candidate had to their potential.
My belief is that you by expecting and demanding excellence, you are unlikely to achieve it.
I don’t know about you, but I feel something is being demanded of me, or force is being used, I am immediately reluctant to give it.
Increasingly I am coming to believe that the true job of leadership is to cultivate the conditions in which brilliance and people’s best is seen, valued and supported.
And this starts with leaders being dedicated to their own journey to liberate their own brilliance and potential. You lead by example, not by demand.
I have never been asked the question by anyone in my life, “How can I help you do your best work?” or “What is stopping you doing your best work? What interference can I help you remove so you can fly?”
Wouldn’t that be an amazing world to live in?
In the UK, I listen to the dialogue around our country and our economy, and what I would love to hear even one of our leaders say is, “How can we help cultivate the brilliance of everyone in the UK? How can we support the realisation of the innate potential of each of our citizens?”
Yes, it is a complete evolution in how we see the role of leadership.
Leadership has traditionally been about command, control and force.
What if we could come to see that the most powerful job of leadership is to inspire the brilliance in other people?
That’s the kind of leadership I get excited and inspired about
As always, if you are in leadership and would enjoy a conversation about living into possibility, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange it