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Ask Not What Your People Can Do for You…

By | The John Maxwell Company |

Early in their careers, young leaders tend to be concerned with self-advancement. They ask: what can others do for me? They spend the bulk of their time trying to get other people interested in their ideas and abilities. To this end, they trumpet their accomplishments and show off their knowledge. In short, they try to win others over by being impressive.

As they mature, leaders begin to understand that they will go farther by focusing first on the advancement of others. They ask: what can I do for you? Instead of trying to impress others, they search for ways to show how they are impressed by others. Their goal is to convince people of two simple ideas: 1) I care about you and 2) I want to help you.

One of the best ways to demonstrate that you are looking out for the interests of your teammates is to do something for them that they cannot do for themselves. Not only does this empower your people, it brings personal fulfillment to you. As John Bunyan said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” We’re designed to make a difference in the lives of others, and our own life becomes more meaningful when we do.

What to Do for Others That They Can’t Do for Themselves:

(1) Introduce Them to People They Can’t Know on Their Own.

As a leader gains influence with people, her personal network grows. One of the best ways leaders can open doors for others is by connecting them to potential mentors, coaches, or business partners.

(2) Take Them to Places They Can’t Go on Their Own.

When touring historic homes or museums, you’ll occasionally encounter a wing of the building that’s off limits to the public. Usually there’s a sign communicating that the area is for “authorized personnel only,” and the doors are locked to prevent people from entering. Aren’t you always curious what is in the restricted areas?

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