NY Times Bestselling Author and Hall of Fame Speaker, Mark Sanborn, once taught me, “The first job of a leader is to prove significance. Because unless or until people feel significant, they won’t even come close to making significant contributions.”

When people fully understand the purpose for an organization’s existence, they buy in, feel more significant about themselves and their role, and they rally together to make it happen. 

It sounds simple to pull off, but it’s not always easy. 

How do you think your team would grade you on the “makes me feel significant” scale?  A good exercise is to consider each person’s level of work or quality of their contributions. Then, compare it with how you think they’d grade you on your “I make them feel significant” score. Often, we find a direct correlation. 

When our teams feel significant, they usually make significant contributions.

Here are two ways to create an environment rich with significance for your team:

Prove significance. Make sure each person knows you’re aware just how significant they are to the organization. Remind them of their significance. Show them how significant they are, every chance you get. Ask what type of work they’d like to do more of to make them feel more significant. They’ll feel significant, and you’ll see them perform to their full potential. 

  1. Be present
  2. Be interested
  3. Be open
  4. Be honest

Create a Sense of Purpose.  

  • Discover your own purpose.  
  • Help others find their purpose.  
  • Help everyone on your team understand how their purpose connects to and supports your organization’s overarching purpose. 

If you’re having difficulty discovering your own purpose, here’s a simple exercise to find it:

  • Ask yourself what breaks your heart.
  • Ask yourself what you love to do and what you do better than most.
  • Ask yourself who you want to help.

Fill in the following purpose statement:

My purpose is to give ___________ to help __________ accomplish _________.

Live your purpose, and everyone else will follow suit. Share your vision for the team, and everyone will follow you, as their leader.

  • Fulfillment. Fill their cup to the brim. You’ll discover what makes them tick, gets them going, and what moves them as you engage in old fashioned conversation with them every single day.  Once you identify each individual person’s motivations and inspirations, leverage those emotional connections so everyone gets to at least dabble in the tasks, activities, and initiatives which fill their cup. 

“Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful.” 

~ John C. Maxwell 

Have a great day.

PS – Pre-order my next book, Lead with Hospitality here. Release date is April 27th, 2021.

I’ve compiled twenty years’ worth of leadership lessons, stories, and applications for how to lead with hospitality and why it makes a difference that matters for everyone in your life, at work, at home, and in your community.