The Power of Others

Not long ago, I caught up with a client who had come to me for some career help.  He has spent his entire career with the same company and 18 months ago had asked for some résumé support to explore other opportunities.  

Fast forward to today, he is still with the same company and was telling me how he felt renewed at work.  He is acting as a mentor, he is participating in leadership development formally and on his own.  His work has even been recognized by his industry peers.  

“How did it all turn around? “, I asked.  He shared that it all began when a trusted colleague was courageous enough to say that if he wanted to improve his relationship with his boss, he needed to find ways to be more helpful to her.  And, he needed to lose the chip on his shoulder.  

In that moment, everything shifted into place.  What had been closing in was now expanding.  He could clearly see opportunities that had been right there all along and now he was ready to take them.  He shared that even his friends and family has noticed a difference in him.  

This conversation made me think about a new book by my favourite author, Dr. Henry Cloud, called The Power of the Other.  Dr. Cloud observes that all great performers are influenced by the people around them.  The individuals in our circles have an impact that is either positive or negative.  

How do you know if a person is going to be a good influence on your performance?  More than just being a positive cheerleader, the individual must help you develop focus and be accountable, give you the space and safety to learn and to fail, he or she must encourage you to reach beyond what you originally thought you were capable of and empower you set and reach goals to get there one step at a time.

Once you assemble a valuable tribe of people, you must accept your need for their support. This requires vulnerability.  We are always searching for connection, but it is only when we accept this very human need to be in relationship with others that we can flourish with their support.  

This week, consider what opportunities for great performance are ahead of you.  Who do you have around you today?  Do they create a positive or negative energy?  What is one word that describes your connection to that person, right now?  Do you have a person in your life, like my client, who will have the ability to give you tough feedback in order to see you get through the barrier you are facing?