How do you call out the full greatness that lies within each of your employees?  Embracing this question is one of the highest forms of leadership, and it offers one of the highest payoffs.  Individuals are ultimately responsible for their own greatness, and perhaps it should be just that simple, but in reality it’s not.  Outside influences matter.

Great leaders sometimes see greatness in the people they lead that those people have not yet seen in themselves, and they receive the leader’s revelation with profound gratitude.  They will come right out and say, “You saw things in me that I never knew were there,” or, “You saw things in me that no one else ever saw,” or, “You gave me the confidence to accomplish things I never believed I could.”

If you sincerely look for the greatness in people, you will find it, even when it is buried so deep they cannot find it on their own.  But how do you begin this search?  Be curious about their greatness.

  • Ask them to talk about their fondest successes, and how they achieved them. 
  • Ask them to talk about what they hope to achieve, and why it is so important. 
  • Observe what you believe they do best, and talk about it with them. 
  • Observe how they handle challenges.  What is exceptional, and what could they approach differently?  Brainstorm with them what those better ways will look like, and how they feel about trying them.

Let them see that they have a partner in their success – one who believes in them and will collaborate with them.  Give them “permission” to be great by telling them why you believe they can do it.  What is it about them that is special?  What is it that could make them great? 

Calling out the greatness in people will rarely be part of your leadership job description, but think about it. 

  • What if you could do this for them? 
  • What if the members of your team could do it for each other?
  • What if calling out the greatness in each other really were a part of your team culture? 

We seek to give this to our children, so we know the desire to do it and ability to do it are already built into us.  We give our children a combination of belief, hope, curiosity, support, and sacrifice.  We congratulate them, correct them, reassure them, hold them accountable, and we hold ourselves accountable to them.  We show them how to maximize their strengths and make the adjustments they need with their weaknesses.  We stand by them when they need us, and we share in the responsibility for their outcomes.  We see the greatness in them because we want to see it.  We seek it out, and then we call it out. 

The first step to finding greatness in the people you lead is to want to, but every step after that is easier.  Once you really want to see the greatness in people, you will see it, just as though you’ve put on a new pair of glasses.  And it reveals a whole new way to open their hearts to your influence, and to receive your influence in ways they will treasure forever.

Bring out the greatness in your people, and your own greatness will take care of itself.  Help your employees to see the enrichment they will gain by encouraging each other this way.