Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great. -Mark Twain
I really enjoy this quote from Mark Twain. This idea that great people, or great teams and companies (because they are simply a collection of people), make others feel that they can also be great. Exceptional leaders inspire their teams. Exceptional service organizations inspire their clients. Fantastic manufacturers inspire their customers. It leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or pretentiousness. It shifts the focus towards advancing and becoming excellent as a leader or a company so that we can help others do the same. We must be successful, not for ourselves, but for our teams and customers.
Our greatness is about, and exclusively for, their success.
Greatness can be defined in many ways. It's situational. A great football team might have different outcomes and goals than a great high school history teacher. Still, there are themes and threads across all situations. Inspiring people means encouraging them. It means showing them that they can separate themselves and set themselves apart. It means giving them the confidence and/or tools to compete and win. It means admonishing them to not give up, pushing them to sustain success, and helping them be healthy.
Take a moment and think about your team and your company. Think about how others might perceive you. Better yet - ask others how they perceive you. Do people see you, the leader, as someone who will help them be great? Are you someone who will help them win? Do people see your company as an organization that will help them be great? A company that will help them compete and be successful? The key here, of course, is your outward focus. Your desire to assist, giveback, support, mentor, encourage, admonish, and strengthen others.
Is your greatness - your success - exclusively for the success and greatness of others?