Love your people.

Always avoid taking yourself too seriously and never rely on your title for influence. Be yourself, let your guard down, and focus first on connecting with your people, even if it means being silly or putting work aside for a brief moment. It’s a simple truth that people don’t care how much you know – or that they might need to improve – until they know how much you care. Just like any important relationship, make sure to tell them as often as possible.

Choose your battles.

As much we might want control, we have to trust our people and allow space for their creativity to shine. Never believe your way is the only way to succeed just because it is how you succeeded. Gary V posted recently about not micro-managing and he is so spot on – at the end of the day, we don’t really know that something someone wants to try or how they want to approach a problem would or would not work. Another philosophy that has helped keep my ego in check is Marshall Goldsmith’s AIWATT acronym: Am I willing, at this time, to truly invest the time it will take to make a positive impact on this situation? Many times when I’ve stopped to ask this powerful question the answer is no. Holding back my immediate urge to fix or chime in has saved me countless times from damaging a relationship or losing credibility as a leader.

Keep holding yourself to a higher standard.

Finally, remember that as much as you may have an impact as a leader, coach, mentor, or manager, also remember you can always get better. Take a hard look at how many of your people are taking the time to send you thank you notes, emails, or texts about how much you’ve helped them. Strive to be so great and give so much of your all to every interaction that people feel compelled to let you know how much of an impact you’ve made. In the end, how great you are is based not on your opinion, or even your business results, but the inspiration you create in the people you lead to do more than they believed they could do.

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