Leadership Is Not About Promoting Self

One of the biggest potential pitfalls for leaders is the tendency to focus more on your own success instead of making others successful. For the ambitious leader, that might sound crazy. Why wouldn’t you focus on your own success? I understand … I would be thinking the same thing.

Here’s the deal — leadership is really about the success of the organization that you lead, not about you. The quicker you can understand and embrace this reality, the better you will be as a leader. It doesn’t mean you neglect yourself; it just means that you do not put yourself first.

The choice that leaders face each day is to elevate people—to build them up—or to diminish people. Self-serving leaders diminish others and hold them back because they fear that others might outshine them. Their insecurity prevents them from elevating those around them.

On the other hand, great leaders are intentional about making other people better instead of trying to make themselves look better. They want the people they lead to succeed famously!


Encourage – affirm people.
Does your team know that you care about them? Something so simple as taking the time to share a word of praise or a note of encouragement can immediately lift the spirits of your team.

Equip – develop people.
Are you investing in your team? You have to commit time and resources to developing the skills and abilities of your people. In doing so, you show them that you care about their success.

Empower – trust people.
Do you allow people to make decisions and to take ownership of their job? How uplifting it is to have a leader who believes in you!

Leadership is not about promoting self. It’s about elevating others and building them up. Take time today to evaluate whether you are focusing more on yourself than on those that you lead. And if you’re not sure — ask them.

Relevant Quotes:

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton

“Leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart.” – James Kouzes & Barry Posner

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams


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