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The Gift of Leadership

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To celebrate this year’s holiday season of giving, Knightsbridge has started The Gift of Advice Discussion Group. We’ve asked for the best advice on how to be a more effective business leader in the New Year.

With each gift of advice received, Knightsbridge will donate $25 to The United Way, with a goal of donating $20,000.

I thought hard about what I would share and submitted the following:

The best gift you can provide as a leader is the opportunity for someone else to lead.

I learned this lesson when I got my very first part-time job as a teenager. I was sixteen years old and I really wanted a job at a men’s clothing retailer. I had no experience, but lots of optimism. Gary, the manager, struggled. He told me that I was too young because the store focused on an older, more mature clientele. I told him that age had nothing to do with it. That I would succeed in the role. I kept following up and following up. He finally decided to give me a chance.

I knew he was taking a risk on me so I worked extra hard to impress him. In the end, everything worked out fine. I was effective in the role. But what I took away from my experience with Gary was that he was always looking for opportunities to make me grow and learn about the business. That was his gift to me.

Gary’s gift has stayed with me my whole career. And as a leader I’m always looking to share the gift of leadership – giving others on my team the opportunity to lead, to grow and to have greater impact on our business.

So as you enter the holiday season and think about your own leadership role in 2013, think hard about giving the gift of leadership to someone in your organization. Happy holidays!

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About the Author

Vince Molinaro is a speaker, consultant, executive at Lee Hecht Harrison, and author of the New York Times bestseller The Leadership Contract now in its second edition.

5 Comments

  1. Liane Davey Says :
    Posted on December 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I think the reason the gift of leadership is so powerful is that it shows people that you believe in them. Often, you believe in them before they believe in themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t give the gift of confidence, or self-esteem, that has to come from the inside. But if you can give someone the chance to lead, you give them the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. I’ve found that I’m less surprised by the amazing results than the people are themselves.

  2. Liane Davey Says :
    Posted on December 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I think the reason the gift of leadership is so powerful is that it shows people that you believe in them. Often, you believe in them before they believe in themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t give the gift of confidence, or self-esteem, that has to come from the inside. But if you can give someone the chance to lead, you give them the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. I’ve found that I’m less surprised by the amazing results than the people are themselves

  3. Nancy
    Posted on December 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Vince, Not always an easy thing to do when the risks are higher. It often takes longer and requires more personal investment. However, in my experience, the return is often quite high as that gift is also paid forward when we role model this behaviour for others. I remember one of my team members who wasn’t as confident in her abilities as I was – not only was it slow going to coach her through the assignment, but I first had to get past her own timidity to take the lead. However, my instincts were justified when she won the confidence of our senior executives and then started teaching her own team members to take the lead and build their brand in front of the executive team.

  4. Tiina
    Posted on January 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Happy New Year Vince ! I think you are onto something. I wish every leader I work with could experience the gratification and joy that comes when someone that works for you takes the reins, does a fabulous job, learns something in the process, does a job better than you could do it yourself and grows as a leader. You only need to experience this once as a leader to realize that this is a much better way to lead.

  5. Gut Check: Do You Relish In the Success of Others? – Vince Molinaro Says :
    Posted on December 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

    […] in December of 2012 I wrote a blog where I shared that the greatest gift a leader can give is the opportunity for someone else to […]

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