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You are not the hero.

As a leader, you are not the hero. Your job is to make your people the heroes, and your role then becomes that of the wise and humble mentor. When Nancy Duarte writes about this concept she uses the analogy of Yoda and Luke Skywalker. She explains that Yoda’s role was never to be the hero. Luke Skywalker was the hero and Yoda served as a wise and humble mentor to Luke Skywalker.

You make your people the heroes by giving them the training, resources and support to be successful. Once they are successful you give them the credit. If problems, issues, mistakes or failures arise, which they inevitable will, you take the blame.

You make your people the heroes by telling stories of their efforts, struggles, successes and accomplishments to your peers and your bosses. You talk about how their daily actions exemplify the core values of the organization and serve to support the mission and vision of the organization.

You make your people the heroes by saying thank you on a regular basis. When you say thank you, be specific. Tell them specifically what actions on their part you are grateful for and how it supports their peers and supports the overall mission.  Focus the feedback on efforts not just outcomes.

You make your people the heroes by finding out what their hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations are and then providing them the training, coaching, feedback and opportunities that allow them to work toward those goals.

Through all this you need to remain humble and kind. As a humble mentor you can share your wisdom gained from experience, reflection, setback, coaching, failure, learning, mistakes, effort and growth with these heroes when it is timely and appropriate.

Remember that as a leader it is not about you. It is about the people you have the honour and privilege to lead. Make it about them. Make them the heroes.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey. The Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop can help you on your leadership journey.

Brian Willis