A key aspect of leadership is elevating people. I firmly believe that the mark of an exceptional leader is when the people around the leader do better.

Think of it this way: are people better tomorrow because they are engaged with you today?

Achieving this important goal of leadership means you must first invest in yourself.

We must commit to developing (and elevating) ourselves consistently. This means taking the breaks and getting the downtime necessary to rest and invest in our future.

Consider it the simplest form of leading by example.

It means choosing the pathway to increase our value by selecting harder problems to solve and conflicts to resolve, while allowing others to rise and solve what used to pose a challenge to us.

When we commit to developing ourselves, it’s easier to develop the people counting on us. Perhaps because we’re showing, not just telling. And we know the folks who invest in themselves with clear improvement are serious when they help us.

We want to follow capable and invested leaders.

Sometimes we want to know they are vulnerable, too. Or at least human.

As a security leader once explained to me, “we need to feed our souls so we can lead our teams.”

He’s right. We need to create and find spaces where it’s okay to not know the answer, ask for help, and learn. Sure, we’ll feel awkward in the beginning, but ultimately we grow.

It’s the confidence that comes from doing. The authenticity that comes with the experience of struggling through the process and making connections.

People who have the experience beyond just words that sound good. Not telling us to take classes because they have a budget, but the experience to help us make sense of the classes and put what we learn to use.

We crave real people, offering real leadership.

Part of elevating others is helping them realize the value they don’t see in themselves. Paradoxically, this means investing in yourself to recognize your own value. That’s because when we see our value, we more readily realize the value in others.

Your team needs you to see their value.

It starts with you.

Keep investing in yourself, because not only are you worth it, but others are counting on you, too.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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