Skip to content

Executive Podcast #198: When Leaders Believe-See-and Develop the Potential in Others

July 28, 2022
Executive Podcast #198: When Leaders Believe-See-and Develop the Potential in Others

Are the people on your team aware of their potential? Are the people on your team growing their potential? Many leaders are not thinking of their people in terms of potential, and many don’t think of how to grow someone’s potential.

Want to enhance your organization’s leadership culture? Learn more about our 5 Levels of Leadership private workshops HERE – Offered virtually and on-site to meet your organization’s health guidelines.

Download our Learning Guide for this podcast!

Perry Holley:

Welcome to the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:

And I’m Chris Goede, executive vice president with Maxwell leadership. Welcome, and thank you for joining. As Perry does each week, he prepares not only the content that we’re going to talk about today, but also a learner’s guide, and if you’re interested in downloading that learner’s guide, I want you to visit maxwellleadership.com/podcast. There, you can find our blogs. You can find out more information about some of our training and coaching that we’re doing with organizations around the world, and then even if you have a leadership question or something that you’re challenged with, or you’re working through that you’d love for Perry and I to talk about.

Perry Holley:

I’d love that.

Chris Goede:

Man, don’t hesitate to let us know. Some of our topics have come directly from you.

Perry Holley:

Some of the best topics.

Chris Goede:

That’s right. That’s right. Some of the best topics. So don’t hesitate to do that, and you can visit that website there and leave that information. Well, today’s topic we’re going to talk about includes a word that I think is so powerful. It’s something that all leaders should really, really work on. One of the words, but I think there’s multiple ones here.

Perry Holley:

There’s a lot of words here.

Chris Goede:

There’s a lot of words here, but one just sticks out to me. We’re going to talk quite a bit about it today. The topic is, “When leaders believe, see and develop the potential in others.” And I think you and I, we’ve talked a lot about belief. We’ve talked a lot about development. One of the things we haven’t talked a lot about here as leaders is, how do you identify or what does the potential of your team members look like? And then, what is your role as a leader when it comes to, as I hold up my hand, for those that are listening to us, are not watching us on YouTube, by the way, little air quotes, the potential, of those team members.

Perry Holley:

Yeah, that is exactly how it came up, was I got a discussion on a coaching call about somebody. “We’re not coaching our people.” I said, “Well, why are you not?” “Well, not sure why we would.” I thought, do you not see the potential? We got in a discussion, what is potential? Can you see potential? And how do you define potential in someone else? You’re right. We talked all around this in so many ways.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

But I don’t think we actually address it about, do you, first of all, believe your people have potential? Do you see what that could be? And then, can you take action on that?

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

That’s really where I was going with that.

Chris Goede:

Well, let’s start by this. Let’s start by talking about how do we define, even, potential? And one of the things that I think that we look at in my sphere of leadership, is we talk about capacity. I hear, “Oh, he has got high capacity. She’s got high capacity.”

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

And so you start thinking about that. And what we’re really saying is that there’s a lot of potential there, and it’s what they’re capable of as a team member and something that we need to continue to look at. I think when we start thinking about it this way, I began to see the capacity of somebody or the potential that somebody has to take on a new project, to take on a new growth phase, to take on something else. And so when we look at it that way, what are they possible of doing? What’s the capacity that a leader has or an individual has on your team?

Perry Holley:

I have a question, though. So what’s your feeling on this? Do people know their own potential?

Chris Goede:

Yeah, yeah.

Perry Holley:

I’m thinking about even myself. And then I’m thinking about people that have worked on my team. Do they know their potential? Is it a real role for the leader to help someone see their potential and believe more in themselves? Because it kind of comes down to, “I don’t think I have any more potential.”

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

I don’t have the potential or the capacity to do that. I don’t know. How do you see that?

Chris Goede:

I’ve heard John tell us this several times, and just being around him for so long where he says, “Hey, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” And in that’s what we’re talking about here, is that you don’t know what you don’t know, unless you get around other people and other leaders and other team members to even see what’s possible out there, what’s your potential, and what’s your capacity as an up and coming leader. And so I noticed in the title, you said, “When a leader believes, sees and develops the potential in others,” why did you start with the word believe?

Perry Holley:

Yeah. Great question. Because of these conversations I’m having, I realized you are not going to be a people developer, you’re not going to push people to a higher capacity, to a larger potential, you’re just not going to do it if you don’t personally believe in people. I didn’t put this in our notes at all, but I got thinking about it as we were talking before the camera came on, about even Carol Dweck’s mindset piece, that you can almost have a fixed mindset about people sometimes to think, “Well, they are what they are.” No, they’re not. It’s a growth mindset that I need to have as a leader to really be believing that people can develop, people can grow, and it’s going to be up to me, the leader. I have to believe that.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

If I don’t believe it, I’m not going to probably commit. I’ve got plenty of other things I’ve got to go do, and that’s going to take a back burner.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. One of the things I know you’ve gotten pushback for when you’re in front of the room or doing training, or maybe even coaching where you go-

Perry Holley:

100 percent.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. You know where I’m going, right?

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

Which is like, “Hey, we need to put 10 on everybody’s head on our team.”

To be a Successful Leader, You Need Feedback on Your Leadership.

We’re excited to announce our new and improved Organizational Effectiveness Survey (OES). The OES gathers feedback from employees to give leaders and management the knowledge and action plans needed to develop a more effective and productive work environment. Our new version measures 4 areas of your business: Leadership, People, Strategy, and Performance. 

Perry Holley:

Yeah, but they’re not a 10, they’re a four.

Chris Goede:

You put a 10 onto the team. Yeah. You get pushback from that, don’t you?

Perry Holley:

Yeah. Yeah. They’re not a 10, they’re a four. I’m not saying they’re a 10. I’m saying you see them.

Chris Goede:

That’s right. And that’s why this is so important that we’re talking about today as leaders, that you have to believe and see the potential of those team members if you ever hope to develop it. Now, let me, just before you go any further, sometimes that it may never come to fruition. You may have the hope and you may see this, but over time and giving them resources and trying to develop them and giving them opportunities and chances, it may not get there, and that’s okay. But you have to start at the place of, you have to believe and see the potential in others.

Perry Holley:

Well, people will rise or fall to your level of expectation.

Chris Goede:

That’s right. That’s right.

Perry Holley:

And I always ask people in coaching, even in front of the classroom, “Can you tell? Can you tell when someone believes in you? That they think positively about you? When they’re interacting with you, when they’re talking with you, when they’re around you, can you just tell if somebody thinks highly of you or doesn’t think highly of you?” And I think most of us can figure out that, “Yeah. I raise my game around those people. I don’t want to disappoint those people. I actually try to live up to that expectation.” And I think so many of us as leaders, we set that. I was just listening to Ed Mylett, and got thinking about how people see themselves, their identity.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And this acts as a thermostat on them. And a thermostat can heat up the room or cool down the room based on outside circumstances and what you’ve set it to. Well, if you’ve set somebody up that they’re a four or a five, then anytime they have a winning moment or they’re succeeding or advancing, that internal thermostat will just cool them back down to a five, whatever they are.

Chris Goede:

It will.

Perry Holley:

And I’m thinking, “Well, if I’m a leader, can I effect that? Can I help them to see capacity because see that potential and believe in them that they can do it?” Now we’re on our way. Way before we start developing potential, I believe you got to believe in them and see the opportunity.

Chris Goede:

And I 100 percent agree with you. So, once we believe in the people, and then we see that people have more potential, more capacity than what we’re currently seeing being lived out, then how do we develop the potential?

Perry Holley:

For me, and I kind of smile because I had this story that I’d heard, and I tell it because it gets people on the idea of, the term is, next level. Do I believe that for me, personally, there’s a next level? Do people that I’m working with know that they have a next level? I guess what I’ve figured out with most people is, they don’t even think this way. They think they are where they are, that this is it. And so the story was, the guy told a story about going to a local carnival, and they had a mechanical bull, and he was with some neighbors and the neighbors said, “Hey,” it’d be like me saying, “Chris, go ahead and get on the bull.”

“I’m not getting on the bull.” “No, go ahead. Get on the bull. This’ll be fun. And there’s nobody here. Just get on the bull.” And the guy kept rejecting. But then the owner, the operator of the bull said, “Hey, let me tell you, it’s going to move, but don’t hold on too tight. Hold on loosely with a loose grip under the rope. If you hold on too tight, when it moves, it’ll throw you. But if you hold on, right.” The guy said, “All right, I’ll do it.” And he got on. And then the bull rose up and it started flicking this way and flicking that way. And the guy, as he’s telling it, said he got a little confident and he started putting his other hand above his head and holding with one hand and it went the eight seconds and the buzzer went off. Woo.

And he swings his leg off like he’s John Wayne and comes walking back over. And he looks over at the operator and says, “Wayne, great tip. That was great. Thank you very much.” And the operator looked at him and said, “That was level one. You did great. There’s eight levels. You want to go to the next level?” And then you see the guy running down the main fair at the carnival and thinking, “Wow, we always think we’re doing pretty good where we are.”

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

But do you think about there being a next level? So for me, the first step was really realizing there is a next level. Can I help people find it? And can I help me find it? But can we help people find that?

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Commercial:

Hey podcast listeners. Do you have a clear plan for growth? Achieving big results most often does not require big life changes. Small improvements over time compound into big results. Download Clear by Maxwell Leadership. It’s the new free app where our expert guides help you pace your leadership journey and set a clear plan for your growth. You can also find all sorts of resources on the Clear app, including this podcast, and information on upcoming events, such as our international Maxwell Conference this August. This upcoming conference will be like no other, so be sure to download Clear by Maxwell leadership in your app store and register today.

Chris Goede:

And for those of you that are not joining us yet on YouTube, you just missed some of Perry’s animations on that story. But I love that, right? The first thing that you just talked about is that we need to help them believe in the next level, that they’ve first got to believe that, but we need to also make sure that they have buy in on where you’re trying to develop them and where you’re trying to take them as a leader.

Perry Holley:

That’s correct.

Chris Goede:

Right?

Perry Holley:

Ownership of that.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. What are their aspirations? And listen, there are going to be people on your team that you are leading that are not going to have the aspirations that you want them to have, or even you see in them. They’re just not going to have it, and you’ve got to make sure that they have the buy-in. But if they do have the buy-in and they do aspire to what you see in them and you believe in them, and you talk about how to develop that, if they do have that, then I think what you’ve got to do then, as a leader, is not only talk about that, of what they aspire to be in the capacity they can have, but then identify where they’re at and where they can be, where their potential is and what you see in them.

Once you have that conversation, then what we call that disappointment gap there in the middle, which is, “Hey, expectations and reality are X and Y. Now what’s the gap?” And so you, as the leader, have to define what that gap looks like, and then you’ve got to help them with resources and tools by developing them as what we call “to bridge that gap,” and to close the gap so that they can begin to see some wins. Great story. Level one on the bull. He saw a win.

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

Was it enough to get him at level two? No, not enough for that guy. May have not have been enough for me, either. But I love that, how he taught him a little bit, developed him, bridged that first gap getting on there. And so as leaders, you have to, again, let me just go back, you need to make sure that they have buy in, they aspire to grow their capacity and grow their potential. You have to help identify where is reality versus where that aspiration or potential capacity can be, and then you’ve got to help resource them and develop them with bridging that.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. I love that. So hearing you describe that that way, what many leaders don’t think about is that some part of your coaching conversation, you can’t just jump to the development, the skill, the goal. Some part of that’s got to be in understanding what are they capable of? What is their capacity? Do they believe in themselves? Do they have the potential? Do they see the potential? And can you come to agreement with, what is it we’re really going for here? What is the next level for you? And I’m here to help you get there. And I don’t think I ever spent much time. I always kind of jump to the punchline of the coaching. Let’s let’s work on this. And they must be shaking their head the whole time thinking, “Heck I can’t do that.”

Chris Goede:

Right. Yeah.

Perry Holley:

“What are you crazy?”

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

But they’ll put on a good act and they don’t want to disappoint, and those types of things. I think it’s a great piece of what we do to help people believe that they can do more.

Chris Goede:

I do, too. Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And that I believe in you.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And I think for me, knowing I had somebody believing in me, that was a lot of the problem right there, is that, “You believe in me?”

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

Okay. Maybe I could believe in me.

Chris Goede:

Maybe you can do it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, as I wrap up, one of the things I ask leaders all the time in rooms or in coaching situations is that question, right there, Perry, that you just mentioned, which is, “How many of you are sitting in the position that you’re in today because someone else believed in you?” And without a shadow of doubt, never had this happen before, there’s not one single person that doesn’t raise their hand in that room. It’s including you and I sitting here at this table. And so when you think about that and you think of the power of that, then that goes to the fact that, as leaders, we should believe and see in others. And then how do we go about developing that if they have the buy in and they want to do that?

I think being able to do this is a Hallmark moment as leaders, and I think if you can figure out how to do that, it’s incredibly fulfilling as a leader to be able to do that. Let me close with this last statement. I saw this, and I’d read it before. I couldn’t remember where it was. So I went back, dug through my files, and it’s a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we could be.” That’s our chief want. And I thought, “Man, you know what? That’s true.” That’s true for me. It’s true for you. It’s true for Jake and our team here. And so if that’s the case, then we have to, going back to the statement we said a little bit earlier, our team, our people that we have the privilege of leading, they don’t know what they don’t know, and we need to see that, we need to believe it, and then we need to help develop that potential and that capacity in those on our team.

Perry Holley:

Wow. Look at you bringing a quote.

Chris Goede:

Listen, you bring the content. I’ll throw in a little color commentary every once in a while.

Perry Holley:

Fantastic. Good stuff. Good stuff. Well, thank you. And just a reminder, if you want that learner guide, you want to learn more about our offerings or you’d like to leave a question or a comment for us, we always love that you do that. You can do all that at maxwellleadership.com/podcast. We’re very grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast.

Be the first to comment on "Executive Podcast #198: When Leaders Believe-See-and Develop the Potential in Others"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

leadership_podcast_maxwell