People have so much more to offer than they think. When I facilitate a leadership team retreat, I have quality time with each individual and with the CEO. Then a strange thing happens when I see them in action together. 

I notice how each member of the team is more valued, more highly spoken of by the CEO, than they themselves individually think they are. Each one has an assumption about how their gifts, strengths and talents are held by the CEO. From my conversations with the CEO, however, it is clear these assumptions are incorrect. They are actually more highly valued than they themselves believe to be.

We are all in some way more highly valued than we think we are.

The Opportunity

The whole world is plagued with this failure to fully appreciate our own worth. Important perspectives go unspoken. Actions get second guessed. Opportunities missed. Motivation sapped. When people are not sure how much their boss, board or colleagues really value them, they come to conclusions like “I have to try to prove myself” – and all the ugliness that stems from that horrible habit. To make a team successful, we want to get to a place where people feel they can claim their full value, be their full selves, and share what they see. 

I sense we are at an historic moment where a mass reclaiming of worth is ready to happen.  Enlightened leaders initiate and foster this deeper coming forward in the people closest to them. As the leadership team finds their voice with each other, and genuinely see each other with uncommon dignity and respect, the people around them start to do likewise. It starts to become safe. It starts to become fun! And the reclaiming of worth spreads throughout the culture.

Mutual Empowerment

As a leader – and we can all own that in some way – you can’t do it all. It would be crazy colossal to attempt personally to dismantle the toxic unworthiness in everyone with whom you engage. What you can do is set it up for people to create a safe place for one another and to empower each other to bring the full potency of our contribution. 

Think about ways you can set up the people around you to convene some kind of mutual empowerment circle, formal or informal. For myself, I participate in three such circles and derive enormous benefit from them. The irrepressible support I receive from these friends and colleagues, and the insightful feedback targeted at a deep understanding of who I am, is one of the greatest treasures in my life.  

All the best,

David Lesser