Leading for growth: Unleash The Potential In Those You Lead

As a leader, how confident are you that employees feel supported and motivated around you? This is an important question for you to reflect on because it is telling in how effective you are at leading. If you believe employees are fired up when they’re around you, then cheers to you. But if employees feel lazy and passive when you’re around, you have to raise the bar; your bar.

The only way to find out the answer to the above question is to ask your team. Most leaders don’t do this. Why? Because most people bow down to complacency. How many people do you know that are motivated to grow, to seek discomfort? You can probably count them in one hand. To seek discomfort is exactly what true leadership is about for me. Remember, your organization grows as your people grow; and your people grow as you grow.

Where do we start?

As a follow up to my posts, “This is what happens when you fail to develop employees“,”3 blockers to empowerment” and “Leadership isn’t about you, it’s about unleashing others“; here I explain how you can have clarity in your ability to empower others by reflecting on some questions.

First, let’s look at Carol Dweck’s work on mindset: growth and fixed mindset.

growth mindset vs fixed mindset

Are you leading for growth or the status quo?

Most people, and leaders, don’t operate on growth mindset because everyone has fears and doubts, and complacency doesn’t descriminate. Those that do operate on a growth mindset consistently are aware of complacency, and work hard to defeat it in themselves and their organization. And this is exactly where self-reflection comes in, because leaders are in the service of others. And if you are in the service of others, you have to unleash people; not block their growth.

With that said, Dweck summarized her challenge with the following question:

  • Are you preparing the child for the path? Or the path for the child?

In leadership, this translates to:

  • Are you asking your people to evolve? Or are you instead asking very little of them?
  • Are you empowering others or are you making them comfortable?
  • Are you demanding improvement in others but not from yourself?

Your response to these questions will determine whether you’re leading for growth or the status quo.

Bottom line: It’s not about you. Leaders that lead for growth unleash the potential in those they lead; which drives innovation. Ask yourself: What happens when you show up as a leader? Does the performance and potential of the people around you improve?