Great leadership isn't about you. It's about the people who work for you.
That's one of the hardest ideas for entrepreneurs to wrap their heads around, says Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author.
"For the great achiever, it's all about me. And for the great leader it's all about them." he says.
Goldsmith learned this lesson from Alan Mulally, the former CEO of the Ford Motor Company. Mulally retired in 2014 after Fortune Magazine named him the third greatest leader in the world, behind Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Goldsmith, who had coached Mulally, asked for two lessons that the CEO could teach him.
"Your biggest challenge as a coach is called customer selection. If you pick the right customer, your coaching process always works. If you pick the wrong customer, your coaching process never works," Goldsmith recalls Mulally telling him.
"Two, don't make the coaching process about yourself and your own ego and how smart you are. Make it about the great people you work with, how hard they work and how proud you are of them," Goldsmith says.
He acknowledges that for most entrepreneurs, it's very difficult to shift toward this kind of thinking. But it pays to design your leadership style around these ideas, he believes.
"If you don't understand anything else today but these two lessons, you're going to have a happier life, and you'll be a better coach," he says.
For more of Goldsmith's tips for improving your leadership skills, check out the video below.