Leaders See Opportunities Not Problems

Real leaders view challenging situations as opportunities, not problems. Instead of injecting people with fear, they navigate them towards opportunities, inspiring them with excitement and hope. Finding opportunities for others means letting go of your own ego so others can find theirs.

Leadership is often defined as a set of behaviors by which one person influences others toward the achievement of goals. Put more simply, leadership is about momentum and results. While these definitions are true, they somehow fall short. What mechanism should a leader use, for example, to “influence” strong performance?

Has leadership evolved beyond carrots and sticks?

And what about the people being led?

Besides a paycheck, what do they get out of getting results for the leader? What’s in it for them?

After all, the leader’s success depends on them, right?

Finding opportunities for others means letting go of your own ego so others can find theirs.

What’s missing is opportunity. In exchange for advancing the leader’s goals, the people being led expect work opportunities that provide for:

  • Growth and personal development
  • Career fulfillment and enrichment
  • Acquisition of new skills
  • Financial gain and other rewards
  • Greater access to leadership roles

People and organizations grow and develop to the extent that they capitalize on opportunities to do so. Opportunities are important to leaders because they’re important to the people they lead. At its core, open-door leadership is about noticing, identifying, and creating opportunities for those being led.

Think for a moment about a leader you greatly admire.

  • What do you admire about him or her?
  • Did he open a door to an opportunity where you could grow your skills or improve yourself, such as asking you to lead a high-profile project?
  • Did she help illuminate a blind spot by giving you candid feedback that caused you to see yourself in a different and more honest way?
  • Did he build your confidence by asking for your perspective, input, and ideas?
  • Did she openly advocate for your promotion, showing you how much she valued you?

Presumably, the leaders you most admire are the ones who left you better off than they found you by creating opportunities that helped you grow. How? By…

  • Valuing your input and perspective.
  • Being open with telling you the truth even, if the truth is difficult to hear.
  • Helping you be receptive to new possibilities and experiencing new ways of perceiving and thinking.

At its core, open-door leadership is about noticing, identifying, and creating opportunities for those being led.

Being a valuable leader involves creating or assigning opportunities in order to promote growth. In doing so, leaders increase the likelihood of their own success and advancement. They also increase the likelihood of creating other leaders, which is essential to building a lasting leadership legacy.

Leaders create leaders by opening doors of opportunity so that they have a positive and lasting impact on the behavior of those they lead.

Are you creating opportunities for others? Why or why not?

About Bill Treasurer

Bill Treasurer is the author of The Leadership Killer, Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance, which he co-wrote with Captain John “Coach” Havlik, Navy SEAL (Retired). For the last two decades, Treasurer has worked with thousands of leader across the globe, at such organizations as NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lenovo, UBS Bank, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more at: www.LeadershipKiller.com.

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