The Greatest Satisfaction for a Leader

By May 11, 2013Generations

Encourage LeadersThe greatest satisfaction for any leader is the feeling of building and equipping people. Great leaders want to develop the next generation of leaders and see their potential reach new heights. If you are committed to helping and adding value every day, you are making a commitment to superior quality. That quality is the investment you make with the people that help you succeed as a leader. As leaders, we can only be as good as what we nurture every single day.

“The Greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli

So here is the challenge for you: Are you truly building and equipping people in your organization? Use these questions to help you decide:

Do I encourage, appreciate and affirm?

Great leaders make it a daily habit to take time to encourage people by giving them hope for their future. Many people are uncertain of what the future holds. By being there for them as a supportive leader, you rekindle the light of hope in their lives. You must show them compassion for their aspirations and dreams. With the recent economic downturn, many people are trying to find a way back to their dreams they had several years ago. It takes a leader to provide comfort and care for those lost dreams.

Another way to help relating is appreciating and affirming them for their unique values. Everyone has a gift inside them. Let’s help them discover that gift and communicate your awareness of someone’s accomplishments and contributions. It takes a humble leader to say how much you admire a quality in another person in a sincere manner.

Am I helping my team develop their greatest strengths?

Let’s begin with a very simple question: What do you see as the greatest single strength in each of your staff members? Make yourself aware of that unique strength, so that you can share it in a meaningful way. Then let them know what you see and ask each one, “How can I help you build up this strength?” When we ask these questions and are able to reflect on them as leaders, we begin to notice how valuable each person is on our dream team. We begin to cherish and understand the qualities of each person around us. What they are and what they can become is our greatest joy.

Do I understand the true long term potential of each member of my team?

Imagine each of your staff ten years from now. What potential does each one have? How can you help each one to grow into that full potential? It’s a great opportunity for every leader to evaluate and come up with a development plan for each person on their team. Many leaders are focused on the present day and the next month but what will bring the best return on your investment of time and mentoring? Having a dialogue on each person’s future is a great way to build long lasting relationships in any organization.

Does my team know I want them to reach their fullest personal potential?

A great way to share with your team how much you care for their potential is to give them a copy of the questions above. Have them think about it for a week and write down their answers. Then meet with them over lunch to talk about it as a two-way conversation. The process lets them know you care personally about them and helps you to prepare the way they want to grow.

“Connection doesn’t happen unless you put in the time to learn about someone’s unique personality, perspective, and motivations. Ask questions about the people on your team to uncover their interests, and observe them in action to find out their capacity and strengths.” –  John C. Maxwell

Guest Author

Tal Shnall is a Coach and Trainer at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson Texas. His background consists of customer service operations in the hotel industry for almost 15 years and working for companies like Marriott, Hilton and Starwood hotels. Tal is passionate about leadership development and making a positive difference in the lives of others. Connect with Tal on Twitter @tshnall and his leadership/teamwork blog.

Join the conversation.

How do you encourage leaders and team members? What practices have worked for you?



From time to time, guest writers contribute to Thin Difference. Topics include leadership, career development, creativity, and mindfulness. Our mission is to "Cross the gap and lead with a new story line," inspiring Millennial leaders.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • […] Mertz offers The Greatest Satisfaction for a Leader from his blog Thin Difference.  Encouraging leaders and team members delivers the greatest […]

  • Hiten Vyas says:

    Hi Tal,

    This was a wonderful guest article! Jon, thanks for connecting us all with Tal!

    Tal, what I really appreciated about your post is that the type of leadership you are teaching is selfless and is all about seeing and taking joy in the development of one’s followers so that they too will be in position to lead, should they wish to.

    I admire this type of leadership, and indeed aspire to be such a person.

    Thank you.

    • Tal says:

      Thank you Hiten for your thoughts you sharing. It’s always leadership under construction as we try to work on our leadership to provide better service to our teams and as a result they will be better off not only in the work place but in life as well.

  • I agree with the overall premise and specific points Tal made in this article. It seems so obvious and yet so many in leadership positions miss it. Assuming we’ve done our job in recuriting the right talent that fits the org’s mission and vision, the best way to bring out the best performance in the human assets we’ve attracted is to help them be their best, help them see how their personal success contributes to the org’s, and show that we really care about them and their career development. It’s a total win-win for our team members and the org! Thank you for articulating these questions and suggestions. I’m sure many great lunch meetings and leaders can be fostered following your advice, Tal. Thank you for featuring this guest post, Jon.

    • Tal Shnall says:

      Thanks Alice. You have articulated some very nice feedback for all leaders to think about as we are building the relationships with people everyday. I think our success is only the success of others. So leaders must understand that when everyone succeeds we all win together.

  • Alli Polin says:

    Tal & Jon – Some great questions here and important reminders for all leaders. I really love “Am I helping my team develop their greatest strengths?” We hire people for their strengths but somehow, over time, too often get focused on gaps. The best way to tap into potential is building on strengths instead of closing gaps. Strength will take the team and the org exponentially further. Good stuff here for all leaders, thanks!

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Alli! The questions Tal outlined are so important, and closing the gaps is a great way to empower potential! Jon

      • Tal Shnall says:

        Thank you Alli for your feedback on the thoughts I shared. I have to agree that at times we are focusing on what’s missing instead of what each person is adding even if it’s small contribution to the team. But if we want to see future generations develop to leadership, we must take the time to build and mentor with their strengths.

  • Marquita Herald says:

    Excellent article! My #1 take away is quality communication. A leader may truly want the best for their employees, but they need to effectively communicate it, not only through their words but their actions. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Jon M says:

      Thank you, Marquita. Tal did a great job with this article. I agree, communicating in a high-quality manner is essential to make this work. Thanks! Jon

      • Tal Shnall says:

        Thank you Marquita. I appreciate your comments and really communication is the foundation of where we begin to build those relationships.

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