Ever worked for an exceptional boss who left an indelible mark on your life? Chances are, it's someone you still think about to this day. And the reason you remember this individual is because of how he or she made you feel.
As you jog your memory, perhaps this was someone who:
- Coached and mentored you toward personal and professional success;
- Removed obstacles from your path;
- Always made himself/herself available for you;
- Stretched your growth; and/or
- Provided you with all the resources you needed to do your best work.
While these leaders may be in the minority, they have set the bar high for how teams should be motivated and engaged. Now that you're a leader (or aspiring to be one), it's your turn to do for your employees (or future employees) what your memorable boss did for you.
Ask one question to get you there.
The best of leaders operate with one overarching goal in mind: to serve the needs of those entrusted to their care.
The journey toward leadership greatness never ends. But it does have a starting point with one powerful question:
Am I positively impacting the lives of people entrusted to my care as a leader?
This is a question that has to be firmly embedded in your mindset every day.
It's a hard prerequisite if you're willing to commit to the journey. But by asking yourself this question, you can open up a world of opportunities to make an immediate impact on people starting today.
As an example of what I mean by leadership impact, think about your employees' development.
One of the key employee engagement strategies managers can implement is to honor their employees' drive to learn and grow. And career development is one of the biggest reasons people join organizations.
Truth is, today's employees don't really want free beer, foosball tables, or Bring Your Pet to Work Day (those are nice perks to have, but don't hold up over time). What they really want is career development and advancement.
They want the same thing their boss wants from them -- to improve, get better, and make an impact in the workplace! Hence, they want a leader that takes a real interest in their career goals and development. They want someone who will open doors for them. They want someone who encourages experimentation and even failure as part of the learning and growing process.
What's your answer to the leadership question?
So, back to the question, "Am I positively impacting the lives of people entrusted to my care as a leader?" The answer can become the truest measure of success for you, whatever your role or title.
Even if the answer is "no," take solace in knowing that when you do answer the question with a "yes," you will have started down the road toward becoming an exceptional leader.