Mindset shift, caring for others and becoming a good leader.

Three Questions You Need to Answer to Become A Better Leader
It all starts and ends with belief

There is one thing I can guarantee with absolute confidence that comes from my experience over many years. You will pick up a new insight, learn something new every time you digest content from John C Maxwell. And what I want to share is the latest leadership insight I learnt from him a couple of weeks ago.

While doing leadership research for my next book, I came across a very profound piece of insight about what followers need from their leader. In his book, “Leadershift”, John C Maxwell lists 11 essential “shifts” that we must make to become influential leaders. He hooked me from the very first point – moving from “Soloist to Conductor.” This shift means one thing:

            “This requires taking the focus off yourself and looking for ways you can help others reach their potential.”

I have struggled to follow and trust leaders I did not believe were adding value to me. Of the 10+ CEOs and CFOs I have worked with, only one stood out to be my mentor. He was genuinely interested in my career and was constantly adding value to me. We had great one-on-one sessions; he offered honest feedback, telling me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear, and he followed up on my progress. A short story by John Maxwell helped me understand why my mentor was such an exceptional leader.

A gentleman said to Maxwell just before he was about to start a talk in Kiev – “I know you teach a lot about leaders adding value to others, but you need to know that message will not work here. For three generations, people here have been under leadership that has taken value from them, not added value to them.”

            “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

In addressing that apprehension, I could instantly relate to the three fundamental questions Maxwell outlined that followers ask of their leaders. Anyone interested in becoming a successful leader must answer these questions honestly, not in words but by action.

  1. Do you care for me? I could tell my mentor cared for me by the interest he showed in my work, the way he listened to me, and how he challenged me.
  1. Can I trust you? My mentor was willing to be vulnerable. He shared his experiences in assuring me when I felt I was not growing. He led by example.
  1. Can you help me? I improved my business presentation skills because my mentor was the first person to call out my flaws. And he followed up by giving me tools, resources and opportunities to practice my craft. He was there to help.

I was keen on developing my leadership skills because my mentor showed me that leadership was about helping others achieve their potential, caring for and adding value to others. 95% of teenaged students surveyed before a leadership course by John C Maxwell and Rob Hoskins in Ghana said they did not want to become leaders. The examples of leaders they had experienced did not inspire them. 85% of them replied in the affirmative after learning what true leadership is about.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

A successful leader must have a passion for others, and that passion starts with having the right belief system. We receive what we believe, and we see what we focus on. This thinking is part of a cycle that John C Maxwell refers to as the “positive cycle” of action. To me, it creates a virtuous cycle that will make us better leaders and help us achieve our dreams.

Positive Cycle (adapted): Illustration by Dunstan Ayodele Stober

Belief encourages anticipation. Anticipation creates intention. Intention helps us prioritise focus. Focus helps us see opportunity. Only when we see the opportunity are we able to take action on it. When we do, it inflames our passion to do more good. That in turn fuels belief. And the cycle begins all over again. This is a circle you definitely what to keep unbroken.” 

  • Excerpt from Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace

Start by believing you can add value and create an impact in your followers. That belief will make you anticipate the change you seek, which will build the intention within you. And with the right intention, you will focus on others instead of yourself, which will make you see the opportunities to impact those around you positively. When you spot the opportunity, take action to grow your passion and reinforce your belief.

Make the shift from self to others and answer the three questions that will make you a great, impactful and successful leader.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *