Hello, Believe Nation, today, we’re going to talk about the seven qualities that make a great leader.
So I often get asked by entrepreneurs, how do I be a better leader, how do I be a better guide, a better mentor for my team? And so today, I’m going to share with you my seven ways for you to be a better leader.
Way number one is to have more self awareness. This is super important, if you want to be able to know how you can help other people learn, grow, and develop, you need to first understand yourself. Before you can understand, truly understand other people, you need to first understand yourself.
“You need to understand the mission, the mission that you’re on, and it starts with the self-awareness of understanding your single most important core value that you want to drive business growth through.” – Evan Carmichael
And so the path, the lens through which I see the world, my path is through finding your one word. I think, in order to help other people find their one word, you need to know yours first, you need to understand the type of people that you want to surround yourself with, you need to understand what kind of business that you’re trying to create, you need to understand the mission, the mission that you’re on, and it starts with the self-awareness of understanding your single most important core value that you want to drive business growth through. If you can’t understand yourself first, then you’re going to have a really hard time understanding other people.
#2: Unlock Their Self-Awareness
Number two is unlocking their self-awareness. All the people on your team, if you can help them through the process of figuring out what they stand for, what their one word is, what their most important core value is, then it makes it easier for them to understand themselves, and for you to guide them and help them on their path.
If you know that somebody really values creativity, then it’s looking at, “How do I give them more creative tasks?” If somebody really values grit, then “How do I give them tasks that they can grind out?” For them to understand who they are, then they can carve out a path to themselves, hopefully inside your organization, but it may also mean that they have to leave because there’s a mismatch of values.
Their skills may be perfectly aligned with what you need, but their values are not, and so it’s not a good long-term fit for your business. Unlocking their self-awareness, I think, is one of the greatest gifts that you can give as a leader, because in my view, the role of a leader is to unlock potential.
“If you can help them through the process of figuring out what they stand for, what their one word is, what their most important core value is, then it makes it easier for them to understand themselves, and for you to guide them and help them on their path.” – Evan Carmichael
It’s to see people where they’re at now, and help them understand where they can go, and help them understand that the ceiling that they have for themselves are nowhere near the ceilings that they could actually bust through.
So a lot of people feel like they could be doing more, but they don’t know what they should be doing. That’s your job as a leader, to help them see that untapped potential, and help them realize it. And again, for me the start is understanding the self-awareness, figuring out your one word.
#3: Put Them First Intention
Number three is put them first. This is really, really, really important, and one thing that I don’t think enough leaders do. My job, my goal, my intent, every time I’m meeting with somebody who works for me, is to put them first. I want to help them as a human being.
And ideally, it matches up with my company, what I’m trying to do, but again, it may not. Like, what they want to do may not be the best fit for my company, and I don’t want to hold them back in a position because it’s safe, or easy, I want them off doing the thing that makes them come alive. And so, this is actually a hard concept for people to understand when they first sit down with me, because it’s so easy for the leader to put themselves first, to see everything through the lens of the business.
“My job, my goal, my intent, every time I’m meeting with somebody who works for me, is to put them first.” – Evan Carmichael
Well, I think the great goal of a leader should be to put your people first, try to help them do what’s best for them. That’s what gets them to really open up and tell you, and maybe there’s a fit within your organization, or maybe it means they need to leave. But either way, in every conversation, I’m trying to help my person grow to the best of their ability.
#4: Make A Plan
Number four is make a plan. When you understand what they want to do, what their goals are, what their ambitions are, what they want to accomplish, and you know what their one word is, then you know what their values are. Then, it’s making a plan for them.
Okay, what does the world look like for you in an ideal spot, like, where do you want to go? What are the next things you want to accomplish in a one year, five year, 10 year window? What are some of the things that you want to get out there and do, and how can I help you? And helping put some structure around it, so that it’s not just some idea that they have, it’s helping them create it.
A lot of people, when they come into your organization, they may not have set goals for what they want to do. Right, they know what kind of makes them feel good, they may have a vision for what they want their life to be, but they’re afraid to do it, and they don’t often have people in their life to help push them, and guide them, and make plans with them.
“When you understand what they want to do, what their goals are, what their ambitions are, what they want to accomplish, and you know what their one word is, then you know what their values are. Then, it’s making a plan for them.” – Evan Carmichael
They may not be great at making plans themselves, and there’s nobody around them to help them with that. And so this is your opportunity, as a leader, to help them do that, and again, you’re making a plan that’s in the best interest of them, and not just you. And sometimes that may mean that you are a stepping stone for them. You know, as an example here at Toronto Dance Salsa, one of my instructors, Lily, she actually teaches the most classes that we have right now.
She teaches the most classes, her goal long term is she sees herself on stage, she wants to be a speaker, she wants to be, you know, entertaining, and delighting, and inspiring audiences, that’s what she wants to do. I can’t provide that within Toronto Dance Salsa, as a setting, I can give her tools, and resources, and knowledge, based on what I’ve done, because I’ve gone out and done those speaking engagements. But I can give her a platform here at TDS that becomes a stepping stone.
Everything that she wants to learn, and go out on stage and do, she can start doing inside a class. She can start being inspiring, she can start telling stores, she can start helping students that we have coming through, live a better life through dance. But at some point, she’s going to have to break free from what she can gain here, to go off and do her own thing. Maybe we partner up, and that becomes a new venture. I don’t know, but TDS is a stepping stone for her.
And I get that, and I love that. Like, I don’t want to tie somebody down here, whose long term goal isn’t to be here. But if there’s a way that our paths can be mutually beneficial for a certain amount of time, before they veer off, I love that, let’s focus on that.
And so making the plan is for them, and their long-term success, and hopefully, some of that relates to your business. And if not, push them away, one of my favorite things to do is pushing somebody away from the business, if it doesn’t align with what they want to do. I don’t want to hold somebody back here. I want to help them grow.
#5: Give Them Opportunities To Stretch
Number five is give them opportunities to stretch. So when I know what somebody wants to do, and I know what their one word value is, then I want to find opportunities for them to be able to stretch, and to grow, and to build on that base. So as an example, I look at Alex, who’s with me here at Toronto Dance Salsa.
His first teaching opportunity came when he was dancing with Sharon, he was the assistant, he was not the instructor. He was just adding a little bit of advice and feedback in a class, but Sharon was the main teacher. Sharon had an injury, and she couldn’t teach the class anymore.
And she asked me to come in and teach the class. The challenge is, I can’t dance with Alex, we don’t have two male instructors dancing together at the front of the class. So if I was going to teach the class, I would need to have a female assistant, and then Alex would be left on the sidelines, and wouldn’t be able to teach, and continue to grow.
“The primary responsibilities, as a leader, is to help them push through their discomfort to reach a ceiling that they didn’t even know existed, and bust through it.” – Evan Carmichael
So I like pushing people, I like giving people opportunities, often with very little preparation, to see if they’re going to jump at it or not. So we’re driving on the way to our class, and I told Alex in the car, “Alex, we got two options here. “I can either guide the class, I will teach it, “I will step in and run the entire night, “and I’ll have a female assistant.
“And you can be on the sidelines, “and help out every now and then. “Or, you could jump in and be the instructor.” It’s a role that he wanted to have, but he wasn’t ready for, it was a stretch. “And I’ll sit on the sidelines, and I’ll guide you. “In between sets, on every song, “I’ll come, I’ll give you feedback, “I’ll mentor you, help you get better.
“You’re going to make mistakes, “but we’ll build you up, and grow, “and see, what do you want to do, what would you rather do?” And he took the shot to become the instructor. And then my role, for the rest of the semester, was guiding him, mentoring him, and training him.
And so I love giving stretch opportunities for people, pushing them beyond what their comfort zone is. And my believing in them, as a leader, helps them believe in themselves. They may not believe in themselves and ability to do it, but me saying, “I think you can do it, “and I’m here to help you,” helps push them through the discomfort to create something amazing. And I think that is one of the primary responsibilities, as a leader, is to help them push through their discomfort to reach a ceiling that they didn’t even know existed, and bust through it.
#6: Hold Them Accountable
Number six is hold them accountable. This, as well, is a super important one, because people tend to not hold themselves accountable enough. People have goals, people make plans, people have aspirations, people set New Year’s resolutions, and then they don’t follow through. Most people don’t follow through on the things they say they want to do, is important to them.
If you make a plan, if you understand the person, you understand their one word, and you understand the credo, the three things that make up their one word, now you have the ability to hold them accountable. If you look at why they’re not achieving their plan, why they haven’t made the steps forward, you can look at what they stand for.
What is your one word, what are the three things that break it down, if, for example, one of them is creativity. Okay? Are you being creative, in your accomplishing this goal? Are you being creative enough in your work? If one of them is grit, you can look at that and say, “Okay, like, why aren’t you following through? “Grit is your, is part of your credo, “it’s part of your one word.
“You need to stop letting yourself down, like, “you saw that you’re letting me down. “You’re letting yourself down, you say these things “are important to you, and you’re not living up to them. It’s shining a mirror of truth. Here’s the problem I think most leaders make. Most leaders assign their own life, their own values, onto somebody else. If I really value creativity, and you don’t, then me telling you to be creative is not going to help you. You’re going to feel like you’re doing it for me.
“If you make a plan, if you understand the person, you understand their one word, and you understand the credo, the three things that make up their one word, now you have the ability to hold them accountable.” – Evan Carmichael
You’re going to feel like you never really fit in. And I don’t want you to do anything for me. I want you to do it for you, and it helps both of us. You have to ultimately want to do it for you. I’m creating a plan to help you help you, that’s it. And along the way, that helps me, as well.
Mutually beneficial, and so you have to know what to push people on. You have to know where they are letting themselves down, by figuring out their one word and their credo, so that you have the mirror to shine up, and say “This is what you say you stand for. “You’re letting yourself down here, stop it.” And they have nothing to come back to you with, because it’s the truth, because they realize that they haven’t done what they want to do for themselves. This is all for them, and nobody else in their life is holding them accountable. That’s your job as a leader.
#7: Inspire With Your Actions
And number seven is inspire with your actions. So leaders can come up and give great speeches, and tell people what to do, and tell them why they started this business, and all of that great stuff. And it’s definitely needed, sharing the mission, sharing the vision, sharing why it’s important, sharing the history and the story, and your connection to it is super important. But it’s also not enough just to talk. And if you’re not great at talking, then it doesn’t have to be your only lever that you can pull.
You can inspire with your actions. I could tell somebody “You need to work hard. “Look, you said working hard is part “of your one word and credo, you need to work harder. “You’re not working hard enough.” And I can push them there, but I can also model it. They can come in and see me on a Wednesday shooting 70 videos for the month, and see how I’m working hard. Your actions can inspire action.
“You can inspire with your actions.” – Evan Carmichael
You don’t need to be the world’s most charismatic, most, you know, greatest speech writer and delivery person, you don’t have to be Martin Luther King at the front of your organization, rallying the troops. If that is you, great, lean in on it heavily. But if it’s not, you don’t have to be like that.
You can inspire people through the actions that you take. People should look at you, and want to be like you. They want to emulate some of those characteristics of you. That’s why I started the Mentor Me series, to try to learn from these super successful people, spend more time with them, so that I could be the best version of me.
When I asked the people on my team at the end of the year, “What do you want from me this year? “How can I be a better role model, guide, mentor for you?” The number one answer that came back consistently was just more time, they wanted more time with me. And so I had to adjust my schedule to give them more time. They want more time because the actions are leading to inspired action on their part.
So those are my seven qualities of what I think makes up a great leader. I’d love to know, what do you guys think? Which quality did you agree the most with? Which quality you feel like you need to work a little bit more on? And did I miss an eight, nine, 10 that you want to add to the list? Leave it down in the comments section below, and we’ll join in the discussion.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love, I’ll see you soon.
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