Fan the Flames of Success

This past weekend, I went to a family wedding. During the reception dinner, my siblings and I posed for a picture.

As I smiled for the photo, I saw our dad across the table, watching us take the picture. He was smiling too.

I imagine that his smile stemmed from observing four of his children enjoying one another’s company. Perhaps at that moment, he recalled our youth, reflected on our lives over the years, thought about our accomplishments, and felt a bit of pride.

My mom passed away several years ago, but I guarantee that if she had been across the table, she would have been smiling and enjoying the moment. I believe this to be true because my parents have cheered for our successes and helped us think through our challenges.

At this point, you might be thinking that my siblings and I are fortunate to have had parents who care, offer support, and celebrate our successes. You would be correct; we are. However, this isn’t merely a parenting story. It’s a leadership story applicable at work and home.

Leadership isn’t just organizing resources or delegating tasks. At its core, leadership is seeing the potential of every team member and communicating, encouraging, and supporting them to unleash that potential to achieve what they hadn’t thought possible.

In short, great leaders fan the flames of success. If you want to see your people succeed in their work and lives, I highly encourage you to fan the flames. Here’s how to do it:

  1. See

When a team member does something well, make sure you see it. Keep your eyes open and be on the lookout to catch your team members doing things right.

  1. Acknowledge

Not only do you need to see your people doing the right things, but you need to let them know that you see their efforts. Don’t just passively watch, proactively acknowledge what you saw and why it matters.

  1. Encourage

Let your people know to do more of the good things. Challenge them to double down on good behaviors and point to the results they are achieving. Also, take the time to talk to others about their excellent work.

  1. Reward

One of the best ways to fan the flames of success is to reward their efforts. Be sure to align your incentives with the behaviors you want to see from your people.

Oh, one more thing is critical if you want to fan the flames of success. Model the behavior you want to see from your team members.

My siblings and I have worked hard, found our paths in life, and invested in our families because our parents modeled those behaviors. You can model the behaviors you want to see in your people. Whether you know it or not, your people are watching you.

This week’s tool and video are designed to help you fan the flames of success. The tool’s illustration is a fan with four blades – as in, fan the flames. The central hub of the fan encourages you to model the right behaviors, and the blades remind you to see, acknowledge, encourage, and reward.