I have a wise friend who has been a community and business leader for a while. She is currently running a successful nonprofit. Even though I’ve known her for a fraction of her working life, I’m sure that she’s had a career full of success.

There are many reasons for her successes, including hard work, deep dedication, a purpose, vision, and passion for what she does. But there is one other, perhaps the most important – she has always believed in the potential of her employees. How do I know this?

A simple, profound truth

Because of something she said to me recently with great conviction:

“I’m quite certain that most employees don’t come to work to do a poor job.”

I wrote it down, because it was such a profound, simple truth. It also happens to be a truth that all leaders should embrace.

What this tells me

What this tells me is that she has made a habit of believing the best in those she leads. She has coached the ones who are falling behind and is willing to put in the time and effort to help them step up to someplace greater than the spot they are in.

It tells me that she starts from a place of knowing that, with some effort and dedication, those who follow her will find that they are capable of so much more than they are doing.

It tells me that when these employees make a mistake, she is willing to see it as a learning opportunity. She knows that they will do better the next time.

It tells me that those she is leading are lucky to have her in their lives. She sees that there is great potential waiting to be unleashed in them.

It tells me that, instead of coming from a place of assuming the worst in others, she assumes the best, and she is ready to watch possibility unfold in that direction.

I’ll bet she’s seldom disappointed.

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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