Encouragement and the Leader

John Maxwell, in his book "Encouragement Changes Everything" tells the story of two dinner parties involving a young woman and two former Prime Minister's of the United Kingdom.  

The first evening the young woman attended a dinnfer party with William Gladstone who was a four-time PM.  Upon leaving the company of Mr.Gladstone the young woman said, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England."

 Likewise the second evening she attended a dinner party with Benjamin Disraelie who was a two-time PM.  She commented on her evening with Mr. Disraeli that "After sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."

Two powerful and successful men made an impression on this young woman.  One man focused upon himself and that is exactly what the woman came away knowing and sensing.  The other man however focused upon the woman.  I wonder which dining experience made the most lasting impact?  My guess is the experience with Mr. Disraeli inspired the woman more than the former.

When people leave your presence, do they feel better about themselves or about you?

As leaders, we have the potential to impact people.  I believe that the greatest impact we have is helping people realize that they have self-worth and are capable.  The overriding focus of our lives is to encourage people to develop their God-given gifts and talents.  If we will focus upon growing people, I truly believe that everything else takes care of growing itself:  finances, numbers, impact.

Let me leave you again with the question:  When people leave your presence, do they feel better about themselves or about you?