As a leader, most of us are builders. We want to build up people around us, build our organizations, build our network, build our ability to influence, and build our resource reserves. We may find ourselves frustrated when we feel we are not building, or that our attempts to build are not successful.
Sometimes, especially in moments of frustration, we need to pause, reflect, and reset. Our efforts are more effective when we recognize our underlying intent. Why do we want to build? What are we trying to build? What is our expected outcome? All of those questions need to be answered, internally and then externally, in order to see positive results.
As we answer the “why” questions, we have the opportunity to consider what we believe, and perhaps instill some of that belief into our environment. If we are trying to build people, it is because we believe in them. Our communication can then be rooted in a sense of belief; we invest in someone because we believe in who they are, in the potential we see in them, and the positive return we anticipate because of our investment.
The foundation to building, then, is belief. We have to explore our sense of belief in order to inspire those we lead. We should consider a few specific areas:
• Self – we must believe in ourselves. This is not arrogance, but rather confidence that we are capable. We must believe that we have something to offer, a message to share, a skillset to demonstrate. We have to believe in our own purpose, and that our every action is helping us to live that purpose. Our belief in self is not fleeting or flashy; it is a deep connection to our own sense of purpose. We build ourselves through our belief in our unique purpose and our ability to serve, inspire, or create.
• Others – we must believe in others. This stems from a belief that people are inherently good and that they want to be a little better today than they were yesterday. We recognize that people want to do well in whatever task or duty they are assigned and be appreciated for their efforts. We must also believe that each individual has their own purpose, and it may be our privilege to help them uncover their purpose. We build others through our belief that they offer something unique and valuable to us and others.
• Organization – we must believe in the organization that brings us together. The mission of the organization should connect with us personally, with our mission and purpose. The values of the organization should align with our personal values. We must believe that our work in and through the organization matters, that through the organization we are able to manifest our purpose and support others as they do the same. We build organizations through our belief in their mission and values coupled with our belief that we are able to positively contribute while continuing to grow.
The leadership lesson? Believe in order to build – whether self, others, or organizations. Our ability to lead is buoyed by our willingness to build, and our ability to build is anchored by our belief.