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The Best Leaders Do This

There was no doubt about it. Dorothy definitely wasn't in Kansas any more.

Everything about this new place was different. Her job was ill-defined. Her colleagues were strange. The obstacles she faced were more difficult than any she'd faced before. And the guy in charge of everything was a loud-mouthed sham.

Still, when she looked back on it years later, she recognized that her time in this role was instrumental in forming her as a leader. The three skills she developed were foundational to her success.

She would go on to learn that the best leaders do these three things. Do you?

What did Dorothy do?

The best leaders do this

She kept the vision in front of her team.

Achieving their goal was extremely difficult. The journey to find the great and mighty wizard of Oz was long and arduous. Her team wanted to give up again and again. But Dorothy knew that finding the wizard was the key to their success. She continuously painted a vision for what could happen once they achieved their goal.

She tied the vision to the desires of each team member.

When she talked about the vision they were pursuing, Dorothy always put it in terms team members cared about. Her words of encouragement to the Tin Man differed from those she used with the Scarecrow, and that was different still from how she talked with the Lion. Each member of her team had different desires and needs, and she showed them how achieving their common vision would allow each to reach their own goals.

She believed in her team members' potential.

Though turning back and giving up seemed like the best option at times, Dorothy consistently helped her team find the strength to go on. Often she believed in her team members when they didn't believe in themselves. She not only saw what they were, but what they could become. And she confidently called them to act in light of their potential.

Sure, The Wizard of Oz is just a fairy tale. But it's also a pretty amazing leadership fable. You aren't likely to find yourself stuck in Oz. But whether you lead in business, education, government, religion, media, family, or nonprofit contexts, the best leaders do this: they keep the vision in front of their team. They tie the vision to the desires of each team member. And they believe in their team members' potential.


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