People naturally follow leaders they respect as being more advanced than they are. For this reason, personal growth is directly proportional to influence. If you desire to gain followers, then pay the price of getting better.
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."~ Albert Einstein
Growing leaders have something to share; serving leaders have something to give; modeling leaders have something to show. As V.J. Featherstone said, "Leaders tell, but never teach, until they practice what they preach." The best leaders embody their values. Their passion exudes from every pore and demands respect.
The smartest leaders realize the limitations of their wisdom, and they listen to their people in order to capture invaluable insights. However, leaders don't just listen to gain knowledge, they also listen to give their people permission: permission to challenge the process, permission to test assumptions; and permission to take risks. Nothing turns off an up-and-coming leader like the deaf ear of a superior. The best leaders don't simply listen to incoming ideas; they proactively draw them out of their people. They listen actively, not passively.
Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. To touch a heart, a leader has to be open to disclosing his or her identity by sharing personal stories and owning up to professional weaknesses. Mysterious or aloof leaders may be successful decision-makers, but they won't get the heartfelt loyalty that comes from authentic relationships.
Gifted teachers have a way of making students out of disinterested bystanders. The best leaders have an infectious thirst for knowledge, and they take pride in cultivating knowledge of their craft and awareness of their industry. A leader's teaching ability depends upon ongoing personal growth. As Howard Hendricks said, "If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow."
The best leaders understand the differences between training people for tasks and developing people to be better leaders.
Focus is on the person: Adds value to everything. Helpful for a lifetime. Change the performer
The best leaders view their people as appreciable assets and prioritize investing in the talent on their teams.
After one of the presentations, an audience member approached the presenter who was visibly indignant about the entire speech. "Why is motivation last on the list?" he demanded. "Well," the presenter replied, "because if you listen, relate, teach, and develop your people, then they will be motivated!"
Sustained motivation comes by creating the right environment for your people and by doing the right things consistently to nurture them. Consider a flower. It cannot grow in the Arctic; it requires a climate conducive to growth. Yet, even in the right environment, the flower must be planted in hospitable soil, exposed to sunlight, watered, and freed of weeds.
John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author