Leadership Lesson: Helping Others Succeed - A Lesson From Oprah

leadership development May 26, 2011
Leadership lesson in helping others

With the end of the Oprah Winfrey show a lot of attention has been placed on Oprah - her success, what she's doing next, and lots of memories.  And there is certainly a lot to learn from Oprah about how to be successful. 

However, today I'd like to focus on the leaders who recognized her talent and helped her. And I'd like to as you to consider what kind of a leader are you. Everyone has natural talents that can propel their success. However, most people meet leaders who set up roadblocks to success rather clear the highway for others success.

Last Saturday the CBS Early Show did a segment on The Man Who Discovered Oprah, Dennis Swanson. I encourage you to read the article or watch the video. There is one very important observation I would like to make: 

He asked Oprah to be herself. No changes.

He could have asked her to lose weight, change her look, change her style. Those are examples of typical success roadblock that leaders put up. "Do it this way" rather than what comes natural to you. Instead, he said be yourself and helped her get what she needed to be successful.

What is the result? Oprah developed the confidence in herself and her natural abilities and style. Oprah is arguably one of the most genuine people on tv or in all of business for that matter. You get to see her at her best and worst. And people love her for it. It's made her one of the richest and most influential people alive.

As a leader what are you doing to help your team be the best by being who they are? Your business may not catapult someone to stardom like Oprah, but it may catapult them to extreme success in another way.

Personal branding is an important part of this lesson as well. Oprah understood who she was, her personal brand. Dennis Swanson also understood her personal brand and helped her create an environment for her brand be brought to life.

Are you a road block or are you clearing the highway for the success of people you know at work or home?

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