People often ask me what the key to my success is. And I tell them that I think it can be attributed to three things: (1) the goodness of God; (2) the excellent people around me; and (3) my ability to stay in my strength zone. It took the first five years of my professional life to figure out what my strengths were. But with the passing of years since then, I’ve narrowed my focus down to fewer and fewer things.
As a leader and employer, I try to help others do the same. I help them find their strength zones, and I try to position them there as much as possible. You see, a successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others. How do I do that?
First, I look for the best in others. Anybody can see weaknesses, mistakes, and shortcomings in others. Seeing only the good things is harder. Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson said, “A great manager has a knack for making ballplayers think they are better than they think they are. He lets you know he believes in you. And once you learn how good you really are, you never settle for playing anything less than your very best.” That’s true in any area of life: business, parenting, marriage, ministry, and so forth. Don’t look for the flaws, warts, and blemishes in others. Look for their best.
Second, I speak up. You can think the world of others, but if you never actually tell them, then you don’t really help them. I have always believed that all people have a “success seed” within them. I often look at other people and ask, “What are their success seeds?” When I discover them, I point them out to those individuals. Then I fertilize those seeds with encouragement and water them with opportunity.
—25 Ways to Win with People – John Maxwell