Key Point: One of our roles as leaders AND teammates is to inspire people who work for, with or around us to become better people. There is a renowned story about John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach. Coach Wooden, away from the court, met a young coach who was in awe. The star struck newbie sincerely complimented Wooden for being so great at his profession. Wooden’s response (after winning an unprecedented 10 NCAA championships, including seven in a row), was that it was too early to tell whether or not he was a great coach. His humble and sincere comment was essentially, “Wait until 20 years after my last player graduates to see what kind of men my players have become, and then we will know if I was a great coach or not.”
Jack Welch, renowned for what he accomplished as CEO of General Electric was most proud of the number of GE executives that went on to lead Fortune 50 companies. He claims that to be his biggest accomplishment.
Most of us will never be a Wooden or Welch. That doesn’t matter; we all have the capability to positively influence those around us. There is so much to learn from others. And I’m not talking about perfection. We all are capable and likely to act like asses occasionally, including Wooden and Welch. However, if people feel and see us as continuous contributors to their personal growth, then it is very gratifying for all. Think about how meaningful it would be if everyone felt that working with YOU helped him or her become a better person.
Perhaps a somewhat different angle on this idea is to be more intentional in doing so. If we actively think of this as part of our personal accountability, it will likely invoke a clearer picture of what it means to “develop others.”
- Paint a vivid and clear picture of what it means to develop others through our own leadership behavior. Be thoughtful about what that looks like. It is never too early or too late to embrace this mindset. What do you stand for? What will people learn from being around you? Why will they become better human beings? Not necessarily by trying to emulate you, but to understand what you embody and how that may translate through their unique selves. You’re worth the rewarding personal equity that comes from abundantly sharing yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who help make you a better human being, not just a better “basketball player.” And respectfully avoid toxic people who by association and extension drag you away from positive personal growth. You’re worth the forward motion… The gratifying movement attached to becoming… “I am”… A better person.
Better in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: This takes me back to running the 40-yard-dash during football two-a-days… We’d partner up, running side-by-side with a teammate (mostly so coaches could expedite the process, probably)… But, that gave us a choice. Do you partner up with someone you KNOW is slower than you? (This way you’ll win the 40, and look good for a minute in front of coaches/teammates). Or, do you pick the person you KNOW is faster than you? That means you’ll be left in some dust, finish in defeat, for everyone to witness. I found that if you choose the faster partner, chances are they’ll motivate you to compete harder, and you’ll wind up with a better individual 40-yard time on paper than if you were just pacing your own self. That’s all that truly matters at the end of the day anyways.
Whether it’s a gym buddy, a mentor, a co-worker, your friends, your whatever… I want to partner with those that’ll challenge me to reach my personal best at the finish line, and hopefully I’ll be able to offer the same for them and others.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis