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There Is No ‘I’ In Lead

This month, we asked eight women what they believe leadership looks like. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Lisa Stover, the Managing Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, answered, “I believe in servant leadership. Servant leaders lean in with their teams, authentically connecting at a personal level.”

Catie Dugan Vargas, the Associate Director of Development at the United States Tennis Association, Mid-Atlantic Section, answered, “A leader is someone who inspires others to be their best selves always.”

Nicole Riggs, the CEO and founder of HOA Quality Commission, answered, “A true leader listens… and builds others up so they can be at their best."

Such great answers! We love that they’re taking the focus away from the leader's accomplishments and spotlighting what the leader does to support those around them. As the old saying goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in team”—nor is there an ‘I’ in lead!

Here at THuS Marketing, we believe the best leaders are those who foster relationships with their teams.

These leaders effectively provide the coaching and support necessary for those around them to stretch toward the sky and reach their loftiest goals. Knowing your team teaches you about each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and passions. This insight will allow you to not only place your team members in the most strategic positions, but it will also provide an opportunity to assign them tasks that will keep them engaged and always performing at their best.

Leaders who nurture connections are the ones who are remembered for more than their successes and failures. They’re held in high esteem for the impact they make on people’s lives, the advice they give, and the support they provide. It’s true what Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It takes heart to be such a powerful leader as to prioritize something so “soft.”

The modern business world will try to tell you that feelings aren’t valuable and that relationships don’t matter. We know a secret that they haven’t caught onto yet. Feelings are the most powerful motivator, and relationships create the most loyal audiences. As marketers, these two truths drive our strategy. They live at the heart of every message we create, so we always ask, “How will this make our audience feel, and what impact will it have on our ultimate goal of building lasting relationships?”

As leaders, those same truths help us engage, motivate, and coach our people toward success. They encourage us in empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings. They cause us to pause before taking a step and inquire, “How will this action make the other person feel, and how will it impact my relationship with them?” Because on the other side of every interaction is a person with unique passions, talents, emotions, and experiences.

Knowing how to leverage those unique individual aspects and create win-win situations for the organization and the employees is the measure of a truly exemplary leader.

The purest strength is found not in your own accomplishments but in the accomplishments you facilitate.

To stand on the sidelines and coach the winning team to success is to know that you have impacted those players' lives for more than a lifetime. It is to know that they will recite your halftime speech to their children. It is to know that those players will remember you forever.

We could go on and on about the power of humility, the power of selflessness, and the power of heart. After all, we are a firm that’s all about The Human Side. But for now, let us leave you with this: good leaders invest in relationships, but the best leaders value relationships above all else.

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