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Seeing Potential in Others

By Perry Holley | October 5, 2022
Seeing Potential in Others

When it comes to people, your perspective matters. How you view people will determine how you interact with them. If you do not see value in people, they will not have value to you. And if you don’t believe they have value, you will not see their actual potential, nor will you genuinely invest in them.

Potential is having the capacity to develop into something in the future. Author and speaker Jim Rohn once said, “The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming.” Effective leaders can help their people with this challenge.

It Starts with Belief

Are you the kind of leader that believes that everyone, no matter who they are, has value of some kind? Do you look for it? Do you highlight it? Great leaders compound it for the sake of the individual, the team, and the organization.


Here’s a simple exercise to help you find and develop the potential in the people on your team.

First, think about the value of each person on your team. What is their value to you as the leader? How do they help you and the job you are trying to do?

Next, consider the value each individual brings to the team. Be specific. What is it they do better than others on the team? Where do they shine?

In The 5 Levels of Leadership, John Maxwell encourages leaders to place a “10” on people’s heads. The starting point for valuing people is a belief in their potential. The leader needs to believe the best about every person. When you see them as a “10,” you are expressing your confidence and belief in them and what they can do. How can you make each person feel like a “10”?

Next, answer the following questions about each team member: What is the brightest future I can imagine for this person? What are the possibilities? How far can they go? Where do you see them 3-5 years from now?

Finally, decide on specific actions you could take immediately to help each person realize the future you imagined for them.

To complete this exercise, you must consider how you see every person on your team. Do you value them? Do you believe each has something important to contribute to the team?


Baseball great Reggie Jackson said, “A great manager has a knack for making ballplayers think they are better than they think they are. He lets you know he believes in you. And once you learn how good you really are, you never settle for playing anything less than your very best.”

When people believe that you believe in them, they will rise to the level of your expectations. The opposite is true if they feel you don’t believe in them. Invest some time in seeing the potential in others, and you will improve the overall performance of your team.

About Perry Holley

Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with Maxwell Leadership, as well as a published author. As co-host of the Maxwell Leadership Executive Leadership Podcast, he has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.

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We want to help you grow so that you can go on to grow those around you. Every week, Maxwell Leadership publishes free insights from some of the personal growth and development industry’s most trusted leadership experts. For practical professional development tips, subscribe to the Executive Leadership podcast.

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