I recently came across an anecdote that might change the way you see your role as a leader.
The story starts in 1921, when Andrew Carnegie hired Charles Schwab to become the president of the new U.S. Steel Company. Carnegie paid him a salary of around a million dollars a year, or more than three thousand dollars a day - at a time when someone earning $50 a week was considered to be well-off. He wasn't paying Schwab this much money because he knew everything there is to know about steel manufacturing. In fact, Schwab himself admitted that many people working for him knew more about steel than he did. So what made Schwab so special that Carnegie was ready to pay him such an exorbitant amount of money?
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (not related to Andrew Carnegie), who knew Schwab personally, reveals the source of Schwab's success. Here it is, In Schwab's own words:
"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people, the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement."
Schwab goes on to say:
"In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world, I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism."
You can be truly great . You can be the best there is at planning, organizing and directing the people on your team. But there is one seemingly simple thing that can separate you from accessing your team's potential: your ability to surround yourself with people who know more than you, and lead them to success through encouragement. You can be the most motivated entrepreneur there is - but your team must be just as and motivated as you are. Spark inspiration and enthusiasm in your team and you will unlock the true potential of your business.
As a side note, Charles Schwab went on to revive the Bethlehem Ship Building and Steel Company, which under his leadership became the largest steel producer in the world.
I leave you with the words that are written on Andrew Carnegie's tombstone:
""Here lies a man who knew how to enlist the service of better men than himself."
What are your tips for inspiring and sparking enthusiasm in your team? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments below.