Leading others to shine

‘People who shine from within don’t need the spotlight’
– Anon

We all know that the best leaders bring out the best in their people. Be it sporting leaders, cultural and community leaders or organisational leaders, they all somehow seem to possess the keys to unlocking the ‘shine’ in those who are fortunate enough to work with and for them.

In today’s rapidly changing world, this commitment to unlocking the shine in others has never been so great. Why? Because when individuals shine, they maximize not only their performance and efficiency but they show up engaged, committed and ready to act. When we have a whole team that shines we maximize organisational performance and by default our own capability and leadership potential.

All to often we hear about the need for more leaders but really what we need is more leadership. Leadership is most powerful when used as a verb and not merely a noun. Its true effectiveness lies in the everyday actions we take to grow capability, create options, problem solve and inspire others to achieve more.

Edward Hallowell, author of Shine: Using Brain Science To Get The Best From Your People notes “All people want to work hard and will work hard, given the right job and the right conditions, because it feels supremely good to excel. Deep within us all beats a primal desire to contribute something of value to this world and to stand out as a positive person in the eyes of others. Great leaders and managers make this happen.”

Like a puzzle we therefore need to firstly make sure that we have the right people, in the right place at the right time. This can be easier said than done, especially when you have a change in business direction that requires new and different roles and a loyal workforce that has become comfortable in what and how they do things. Failing to address these changes though, is like death by a thousand paper cuts that slowly bleeds away all elements of success, engagement and potential at both an individual and organisational level. As Edward Hallowell notes, it is only when people are in the right jobs that their brains light up.

So what can we as leaders do to cultivate high engagement and opportunities for others to shine? I would encourage you to consider the following 7 steps:

  1. Get clear on your business/team goals:

    In order to create opportunities for those in our team, we need to be crystal clear on what it is we need to do, the timeframes and why.

  2. Know your own strengths and those of your team:

    Understanding your strengths (and blind spots) allows you to operate with not only a higher degree of productivity but also bravery and curiosity. When you and your team are able to be honest and transparent about what you do well, you will attract opportunities that capitalize on your individual and collective talents and passions.

  3. Align talents with opportunities:

    Complete the jigsaw – match individual talents with business opportunities. It is only when we do that the best in each individual will be bought to light.

  4. Build connection:

    It is important that individuals build connection between what they do and why as well as with whom they do it. Identifying and building this connection is of paramount importance if we are to build lasting success. Great leaders create a connection to what is possible: too many people in our workforce are disconnected with themselves and what they do because they can no longer see or believe what is possible.

  5. Create a ‘psychologically safe’ workplace:

    If we are to commit to growth and innovation we need to create workplaces that allow us to explore, ideate and become curious without the fear of retribution or penalty. It is only when we feel safe that we are prepared to take the risk to try new things!

  6. Recognise valuable contribution:

    Creating a culture that recognizes valuable contributions, motivates others to strive for greatness and peak performance. Creating a culture that helps people to shine is a catalyst for future success.

Margot Andersen

Margot Andersen is a global careers and talent mobility expert. As the owner and founder of talentinsight Australia and Insync Network Group, she is passionate about seeing individuals confidently owning their careers; and organisations building and leveraging the capability of their people as they move in and around the business and globe.

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