I work with college students, mostly from Estonia and Poland. My job is to teach them sales, leadership and also life skills that would help them succeed in whatever field they end up in, in the future. They learn sales through selling educational systems to families during the summertime in the USA with Southwestern Advantage Company and they learn leadership by building their own teams back in their home country during the fall and spring.
As a leader, I’m always trying to motivate people I work with. Sometimes it seems to work, sometimes not so much:)
I was on another one of my trips to Poland with lots of fun meetings, seminars and eating way too many Pierogis (Polish dumplings), if such thing is even possible. While I was there, I had a PC (this is how we call one on one personal conferences) with one of the potential team leaders. He had been working hard with no results for several months and I thought he just needs some more motivation.
To my surprise he told me that he does the numbers but he’s just not passionate to have the results (meaning to have a team). That was unexpected. Why would anyone put in the effort and at the same time not care about the result of their hard work? To me it seemed rather counterproductive.
The previous day he had done an excellent job as a presenter at one of our meetings. He was funny, he was engaging and did an amazing job, overall. He has this natural talent to easily connect with people and get them really motivated. I see him as a great leader. When we sat down at a local Starbucks and I shared what I like and admire about him, he almost had tears in his eyes.
It turned out that he does not see himself as a leader at all and he doesn’t believe himself to become one, either. So it was not a motivation issue, it turned out to be a self-image issue. He just saw himself who he is not who he could become.
As parents, we always believe in our kids, no matter how hopeless they may seem. As leaders, we always believe in our people. But how often do we let them know? We assume they know, but do they really?
3 steps to build confidence in your kids or your team (or kids):
- Don’t see them as who they are but who they can become.
- Let them know how much potential you see in them and how much you believe in them.
- Repeat the previous two steps as often as you can!
I have so much room for improvement in that area but I did learn a very valuable lesson that day! From that day, I decided to focus on really listening to people, wanting to hear their thoughts, fears and doubts. Also, I decided to focus on not just believing in my people but also letting them know how much I believe and how much I care. I also decided to do the same with my own family.
If after 10, 20, 30 years my kids and my teams will look back at our relationship, I would like them to say that I believed in them more than they believed in themselves. That would mean that I lived a good life.
Let’s be the biggest fans of the people in our lives who we care about the most! Can you let them know that you care and believe in them?
You know the best time to act is now, right?
So, while you already have this post opened, take a couple of minutes to think about the following questions, answer them and have them sent to your email so you can go over them any time you want.
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