What separates the best leaders from the rest? While different leaders have their idiosyncrasies and embrace their own unique styles, answering a simple question can provide perspective on the impact you are having on those around you.
Writing at Inc., Leadership from the Core principal and founder Marcel Schwantes stresses that great leadership is the product of hard work, along with trial and error, and leaders of this type “aren’t characters in some rose-coloured Hollywood script”.
“If you’re in a leadership role now or aspiring to one, the journey toward leadership greatness never ends,” Schwantes writes.
“But it does have a starting point.”
The question that leaders should ask themselves
Underestimating the impact that you have on the people around you can be an easy trap to fall into, and leaders should guard against this. Being self-aware, and acting on your insights, will expand your capacity as a leader.
In light of this, Schwantes says that leaders should ask themselves the question: “Whom did I impact today?”
“This is a question that has to be firmly embedded in the back of your mind and at the forefront of your mindset every single day,” he writes.
“It’s a hard prerequisite if you’re willing to commit to the journey. By asking yourself this question as you lay your head on your pillow at night, you can open up a world of opportunities to make an immediate impact on people starting right now (or the next day).”
Of course, investing time in the people around you will not only deliver personal benefits for employees, but provide greater benefits for an organisation as a whole.
Schwantes says putting the interests of others ahead of your own “leads to unprecedented competitive advantage”, with leaders continually needing to pay attention to the sort of impact they are having on those around them.
“Answering the question — whom did I impact today? — with a level of confidence means you’ve arrived at taking the higher leadership road of success,” he writes.
“If your desire is to place others in the position to be their very best, you are well on your way to becoming an exceptional leader and boss.”