“A Leader’s potential is determined by those closest to them.” – John Maxwell
Have you ever been frustrated trying to accomplish something and felt like you were trying to do it all by yourself? Have you ever been faced with a significant challenge and felt like there was no one you could turn to that could help solve the problem?
We have all been there at some time or another, so how do the big decision makers do it? They surround themselves with an inner circle of individuals that are like-minded and fill in the voids in the areas that they are weak in. Let’s face it, we all have weaknesses of some kind and we need to be able to compensate for the skills and talents that we don’t have within ourselves.
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things” – Mother Teresa
As we continue our review of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership we have to ask ourselves these five questions when considering who to include in our “inner circle”:
1.) DO THEY HAVE HIGH INFLUENCE WITH OTHERS?
- Not only do we desire, but we require people around us that get results. The way to get results is to influence or persuade others to help accomplish our goals. The ability to influence people is a key trait of successful leadership. Choose people that have the ability to influence or lead others in the right direction. When your inner circle consists of people that influence others, your own influence multiplies exponentially.
2.) DO THEY BRING A COMPLEMENTARY GIFT TO THE TABLE?
- If it were all left up to us, we would most likely not succeed beyond what can be attained by our own skill set. We tend to attract people like ourselves, see “the law of magnetism” (April 17,2017). Attracting people that complement your personal weaknesses takes awareness and intention. The successful leader recognizes their own weaknesses and is not threatened by those that display strength in those weak areas. Choose people that can make things happen by using their own strengths and talents and you keep doing what you do best. Your inner circle should include a team that can cover all the bases.
3.) DO THEY HOLD THE SAME STRATEGIC MINDSET AS THE ORGANIZATION?
- Part of accomplishing goals and reaching objectives is by using your authority in a positive, collaborative way. Those that possess a strategic mindset look beyond today and consider today’s actions and their impact on future business opportunities. Make sure that the people in your inner circle have the authority to make the decisions that will provide for the desired outcome.
4.) DO THEY ADD VALUE TO ME AND TO THE ORGANIZATION?
- Every organization should have improvement as a constant goal and objective. Your people are both your biggest asset and your biggest liability. Without a doubt, any member of your inner circle should be adding value to others. People either add or multiply value or divide or subtract value. People with negative attitudes detract from your ability to lead. That doesn’t mean that people with differing thoughts and opinions fall into the negative attitude category. That is the trait of a weak and ineffective leader. However, negative people reduce the value of the team and organization. Developing those around us is the most important part of improving your team. If no one is adding value and developing others, you better become a fan of right where you are, because that is where you will be.
5.) DO THEY POSITIVELY IMPACT OTHER INNER CIRCLE MEMBERS?
- Team unity within your inner circle and synergy will directly correspond to your success. The idea is that collectively you will be able to accomplish much more than could be achieved individually. Some people mistakenly believe that withholding knowledge somehow provides job security. Such is rarely the case. Sharing knowledge and expertise builds teams and provides the ability to pursue new challenges and opportunities. Just as we see in sports every day, you can have all the talent in the world but if you can’t work together productively, you will not reach your potential.
Members of the inner circle need to exhibit excellence, maturity, and good character in all aspects of their lives. Leaders often focus much of their effort working to improve the lowest performing people. Under-performers tend to display poor attitudes and unwillingness to pursue new challenges or an unwillingness to embrace change. A leader that focuses on changing these traits expends an inordinate amount of time often producing little in the way of positive results. Investing in your best performers returns a much higher return on your investment.
Building the inner circle takes time and effort. Many fail to make the investment and pay the price of mediocrity. Your leadership potential relies on your inner circle, so developing your team deserves your attention and effort.
Consider these five questions when looking at your inner circle and ask yourself one more question …“Is this the team that I need to take me or my organization to the next level?”. You might need to call a time out and make a substitution.
H5H Action Step:
- List the names of your inner circle members: Next to each name write what that person contributes. If they do not have a clear role or function then write what you believe they have the potential to contribute. Look for holes and duplications. Then begin looking for people to fill the holes and consider how you might eliminate redundancies. Be prepared to challenge members of your inner circle with potential to rise to your expectations.
“It’s lonely at the top, so you’d better take someone with you.” – John Maxwell