Many of us are familiar with these familiar lyrics from The Beatles. They evoke memories of a time when we may not have needed anybody to necessarily help us. But now that we are older, we are oftentimes somehow in need of help to get grounded again.
The Beatles meant these words as a reflection on their lives to date in general terms. But I believe that there is a lesson from which we can all learn if we reflect upon our leadership journey:
We all need some help.
There is certainly some truth in these words when applying them to our growth as leaders. At some point in our early careers, we were care free and more agile. If we had some modicum of natural talent, our careers seemed to take off without any assistance. Now that we are a little older, and hopefully a little wiser, it seems that we may have less confidence that things will always go our way and we are in need of help.
Let me challenge you to think about this in reverse.
As experienced leaders, we have the tools and experience to help those who are newer to leadership. Those that are newer and are riding on their natural talents truly need our help. Also watch for those around you who may have plateaued in their careers as leaders. Do you have ideas that you can share with them to empower them to be more successful?
When I first left business school, I felt that I should have all the knowledge that I needed to be a success but deep down I knew that I really didn’t have all of the tools that I would need to reach my full potential. Some of what I was missing I learned through caring leaders who took the time to teach me and many other things I learned the hard way.
When we take the time to mentor newer leaders, it makes us stronger leaders ourselves. It is often said that when we teach that we have our greatest learning.
One of my favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is “You can get anything in life you want if you help enough people get what they want.”
There is great truth in this quote. We don’t help others in order to gain but when we help others, it is a natural consequence that you will prosper in what you do.
So is there really wisdom that we can gain from The Beatles?
If we look at the professional career of this iconic rock group when they were still together, we can see that in their early career, they would not have gotten their start without the enthusiastic advocacy of manager Brian Epstein. Later in their careers, when they were established, they needed further help and sought the guidance of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Their first choice of adviser propelled them to stardom. Their latter choice showed that even when they had reached an amazing level of success, they still intrinsically knew that they still needed help and guidance.
No matter what stage of our career you are in, recognize that you do need help. If you are an experienced leader, also recognize that you can be a source of help to those who have less experience. Take that time to make an investment in the future of your organization by mentoring those who need it. Your investment will make your organization better and will make you a better leader as a result.
To whom are you reaching out and seeking their help for personal and professional growth? How are you modeling a spirit of continued optimism toward personal growth for the younger generation that you lead? How are you translating that optimism and active curiosity into helping others? I would love to hear what you are doing. Please share!
Steve Nolan is a leader in customer service and operations at a top financial services company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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