Years ago in a private training session with John C. Maxwell, he shared a story that forever changed the way I think about managing a team. The story, about a high-level executive, touched on the importance of training every employee to grow personally and professionally. The executive agreed, but he was hesitant. He feared that after investing in the growth of his team, they would leave to pursue better opportunities. Maxwell looked at him, smiled, and explained that all leaders must answer one of two questions:
- What if I train my employees and they leave?
- What if I don’t train them and they stay?
Maxwell was highlighting the importance of looking at the world through a lens of abundance versus scarcity. The same applies when we evaluate our own role within an organization. Sometimes, that means facing the difficult truth that you may no longer be the best fit for your role.
Businesses and organizations are always evolving. As they grow and change, so does their need for different strengths at various parts of their growth trajectory.
Strong leaders and valuable employees realize that this kind of change is one of the constants in business. They realize that although the current needs of the business may be different, it doesn’t mean their skill sets and strengths are no longer relevant. Instead, it likely means they have an opportunity to change with the business and reposition themselves in a new role.
How do we reframe our thinking so we can see this realization in a positive and energizing way? It starts with finding clarity in the following areas:
- Your strengths
- Your weaknesses
- The current needs of the business
In their book, Now Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton wrote, “You will excel only by maximizing your strengths, never by fixing your weaknesses.” Your strengths, combined with the strengths of your team, create momentum that fuels innovation and accomplishment.
Having a clear understanding allows us to objectively assess our current situation and evaluate how much of our day-to-day time is spent in each area.
After taking inventory, present your findings to your supervisor along with a recommendation of who may be a better fit, if they’re already part of your organization. Not only do you demonstrate your willingness for honest self-reflection, but you also understand that growing in and out of roles is an inevitable part of business—one to be celebrated.
An abundant-minded leader is always building their bench of talent and looking both internally and externally for the burgeoning leaders who have the skill sets, strengths and drive that put them on a path to eventually replacing the current leader. In doing so, they demonstrate just how valuable to the organization they really are.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by @yee_yanne/Twenty20