Five Ways to Bring Out the Best of People

Do your best, and you might have a nice little career. Bring out the best in others, and you can change the world. Do the math – to accomplish anything significant, you have to involve other people.

Here are five of the best ways to get started:

1. Be generous: Give others your time and energy, and – most importantly – the benefit of the doubt. Believe in them, even when they stumble or fail to believe in themselves. It takes no talent whatsoever to believe in someone who is already knocking down walls. What’s hard is to see the talent buried so deep inside someone even he or she does not know it is there.

2. Be open-minded: Talent takes many forms, and it brings people to some unusual circumstances. Many of the most talented people you meet will be utterly different than you; they will think differently, act differently, and talk differently. They may be loud when you want to be quiet, and they may be quiet when you are searching for input.

3. Be clear: Your role in life is not to be the smartest or most capable person in the room. Your role is to interact with other people, to collaborate with other people, and to foster talent in other people. I say this without meeting you because this is the highest calling to which any of us can aspire. This may not apply to hermits and recluses, but for the rest of us, this is where we should be aiming.

4. Be persistent: It is never easy to foster talent. People will get discouraged and distracted. They may come to rely on you to do the heavy lifting, instead of demonstrating initiative and using their own intelligence. This is natural, because it takes time to discover one’s own abilities. It also takes time to accept responsibility for one’s own outcomes. You can help others, but it is not your role to do all the work for them. With persistence, you can communicate two critical lessons: you have talent burning inside you, and you can bring it out if you are willing to put in sufficient effort.

5. Be present: If you are in love with your own abilities and goals, you will never find the treasures that exist all around you. To spot talent, you have to pay attention. You have to look for the smallest clues, and you have to be curious enough to pursue them. The greater your ability to pay attention, the more talent you will find.

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