Part II - The 2022 Leadership Series
There are bosses and there are leaders.
When I was in my twenties, I was a sales representative in the printing industry, with a boss for whom I would jump through hoops, by bringing in sales like crazy.
This was because Paul Carney was a true leader, the best boss ever. He ‘inspired’ me to outperform my perceived self-limitations time and time again.
He genuinely cared about who I was as a human, continually supporting me in reaching my goals both inside the company and in my personal life. I could always count on him to make me feel valuable and a special part of his team. The amazing thing is that he did this with everyone.
Have you ever been with the kind of person who makes you feel like you are the only person in the room? That was Paul. He exudes a magnetic quality that requires inner commitment - a leadership quality that is even more of a personal practice today in a world filled with distraction.
What made Paul special was how he always listened to my challenges, was engaged and creative as we worked through them, was available when I needed him. He believed in me and cheered me on and on and on. I was the youngest team member and he always called me “Kid.” It made me smile then and thirty years later he still calls me Kid and yes, I smile every single time.
You have the power to do this too.
We all know the other kind of ‘bosses,’ the ones in leadership positions who hover, micromanage, and are deficient in empathy, listening, and caring for their team. You may find that they are stressed out, consumed by the bottom line, and often pushing others just so they can look good.
A true leader has a whole different set of priorities.
In the words of Lao Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
Great leaders put the team first, ahead of concerns about their own performance.
Great leaders are always ready to mentor, to be a rallying force of support so others feel seen and inspired to rise.
Great leaders make it a priority to individually connect with their team so they can stand behind the dreams and visions of their people.
Great leaders shine a spotlight on the gifts and talents of others through positive acknowledgment, support, and praise that makes everyone feel good.
This is the stuff that makes great teams great – leadership that inspires everyone to show up and give it their very best.
A great boss is more concerned with helping people step into the best parts of themselves and their dreams. Leaders who care deeply about the team predictably see performance levels increase and teammates who are willing to do backflips for them.
When workers feel supported, happy, and fulfilled - like I did under Paul’s leadership - they feel uplifted, are more likely to stay with the team long-term, and naturally create a boost for the bottom line.
Happiness matters in business. Get curious about your people and watch them shine.
The big bonus of managing people this way is the joy that comes from being a true contribution to others. When you contribute this way, you ignite the light in others, and that light then naturally ignites within you too.