By Kent Mulkey

Author Simon Sinek coined the now-famous saying “Start with why.” Sinek writes, “Hire people for what they can do for you and they’ll work for your money. Hire people who believe in your why, on the other hand, and they’ll give you their blood, sweat, and tears.”

My Why Statement

Here is the why statement I have crafted for my life: “I create a world of compassion and joy by accepting my humanness without shame and accepting the humanness of others without blame.”

Here is the message: The more of your genuine self you become as a leader, the more you will make of the people on your team. Put another way: Are you interested in improving yourself or in proving yourself? Knowing your why will make the difference.

No matter the role or title in your organization, there exists the opportunity to lead and continue to grow in influencing others.

Take Action

Try following a few of these tips to continue to improve yourself as a leader as you develop others on your team:

  1. Know your place on the team. You are not the most significant person in the room. You are the guide and mentor. Drop the top-down approach, the proverbial “my way or the highway” philosophy.
  2. Admit your weaknesses. Be human. In my current job, I sit in on meetings all the time where I find myself not really knowing what is going on or what they are talking about. It reminds me that I always have a ton to learn and will certainly never know it all.
  3. Have fun! Research from some really smart people tells us that there is psychological safety on a team when there is space for laughter and play. I take what I do seriously, but I don’t take myself all that seriously.
  4. Ask for feedback. Start using phrases like “I need help,” “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” “What challenges are you facing?” and “What can I do to help you?”
  5. Assume responsibility for the success or failure of your team. Years ago, I worked for a company that faced multiple violations with state and federal regulators, which is not the worst part. What was terrible is that no one in the leadership of the company took ownership of what created the violations.

Make more of the people on your team.  They are your most valuable asset.