I’ve been coaching a wonderful emerging leader in a Fortune 500 company. She is “wonderful” in that she has a genuine desire to be an excellent leader, a valuable contributor to the organization and to explore where she can be a better version of herself.

She does the work, she is self-reflective, she applies what she’s learned and her boss is giving her accolades in the form of resources and promotion as a result!

As we approached our final session I asked her what her key takeaways have been thus far and what does she still need moving forward?

While she’s giving thought to what she may need going forward, she readily answered a couple of key takeaways that I am sure can be useful to many of you and I’m happy to share an important lesson learned.

1)   “I learned it’s not my job to motivate my employee”, she said. “If she is uninspired that does not make me a failure. And, in fact, that has freed me up to be an even better leader for her.

I am not looking for ways to motivate her I am now looking for ways to engage her.

2)   “I’ve shifted my behavior away from talking to her (or at her) as a result of my shift in mindset and am engaging her by asking her questions. And asking her the right questions. Things like:

  • What is exciting her?
  • What can she do differently to create the impact she wants?
  • What is her vision for herself?
  • Where does she need support?

These questions are resulting in her taking ownership, getting herself excited and ignited, and me being less frustrated and better able to both guide and support her.

3) “Most importantly, you’ve shown me how to be a transformational leader, by meeting someone where they are and asking the right questions to help them discover what will get them to where they need to go.

This is a big shift. It helps my team be more engaged and enjoying what they are creating while at the same time I get to be an empowering leader! I’ve learned how to build a strong team rather than a group of individual contributors – even if they become/are high performing individuals. As individual contributors, I’m not able to elevate them or myself as leaders.”

See what I mean by “wonderful”? Who wouldn’t want this emerging leader on their team?!

Are you inspired to recognize where you might be able to shift from frustration to a transformational leadership opportunity? I hope so! We always like to hear more wonderful a-ha stories! If you are making a shift, please share it!

If you found this useful chances are somebody else in your network will also. Please feel free to share this with those you care about.