Who supports you?

Photograph of a heavy tree trunk bent far over to the right, held up by a carved wooden hand as a support.There’s a recurring theme I’ve observed in listening to successful people interviewed on podcasts, or whilst reading their books.

They talk about the meaningful, vital support they received as children, as teens, as young adults.

There are plenty of people who had very difficult childhoods – poverty, violence, abuse, learning difficulties – and who nonetheless became successful. So I’m not trying to say that to be successful, one must be born with the proverbial silver spoon, or into a loving and supportive family.

But every one of these people I’ve heard speak, or whose writings I’ve read, has talked about at least one person who believed in them, supported them, encouraged them to learn, grow, and be more than perhaps they imagined they could be.

Can someone become successful without this external support? Yes. But it’s a whole lot harder to believe in yourself if no one has ever believed in you. I’ve seen this in some of my clients, and it breaks my heart when they tell me I’m the only one who’s ever held a bigger, greater vision of who they are and who they can become.

Those stories of bootstrapped lone rangers who go it alone? Maybe some of it’s real. More likely it’s a variation on the “ten-year overnight success” phenomenon: we don’t know what’s under the surface; we don’t know what support they had – and have.

How does this pertain to leadership? Two ways.

First: as a manager and leader (and a human!), you need support. You need someone, whether it’s a mentor, your boss, a friend or family member, or a coach, who believes in you and knows that you can do more than you might feel is possible in this moment.

Second: it’s your job, in this leadership role, to be that support for your team, to understand them, to know what support they need, and to believe in their capacity to learn, grow, and become more.

Being a manager of people means being a leader. Being a leader means helping those you lead become better at what they do, become better prepared to do more, and, yes, become better people.

Want some of that support, for yourself or for the managers in your organization?  Contact me and we’ll set a time to talk.