I get asked all the time about leadership — about how I built a top team, how I create a culture of authenticity, and how I’ve bred a thriving community of women who relentlessly support one another and call each other higher.
It wasn’t until recently when a dear friend of mine said, “Moira — you never talk about this, and you should. This is what people want to know from you,” that it hit me:
I know A LOT about leadership development — because I’ve dedicated the better part of my life to developing leaders.
Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time diving into what makes good leaders, great leaders. I’ve studied and poked and prodded as I’ve asked, “How do we build up strong, influential leaders and teams and empower them to go and grow their own business? How do we create a chain reaction of these driven leaders and teams?”
Regardless of what kind of team you’re building or a part of — below are five tips to help you grow the types of leaders that can take you and your team to the next level.
I remember how broken I was six and a half years ago.
I had zero self confidence. Zero belief in myself and I would’ve never believed I would accomplish what I have if left to my own devices.
I could read every book and take every course and try to self-motivate myself to success — but eventually I realized that the encouragement I needed to push myself so often came from others.
I had no idea how much humans need recognition until I got it. I was completely clueless as to how absolutely vital it is to have someone believe in you when you can’t believe in yourself.
So I started surrounding myself with people who would call me up and out.
And you know what? These people POURED LIFE INTO ME. They spoke life over me. They planted a million seeds in me. They believed in me when I didn’t. I don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for my mentor. My mentor kept speaking belief and life over me — and to this day, she does.
She called me to a higher level. And now, I get to do that for the women on my team.
When they do the teeniest, tiniest little thing — I bring that to life and ANNOUNCE IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. I highlight them and recognize them.
People need people.
That’s why I firmly believe it is so important to recognize people over and over and over and over again. Never stop building them up. When they don’t believe in themselves, tell them to borrow the belief you have in them to help them reach for those big dreams.
Never stop actively, vocally, and relentlessly believing in the people on your team. Never stop being their number one cheerleader. No matter how “big” they get or how successful they become.
Giving up control is NOT something that comes naturally to me. I mean honestly, I feel like it’s common for so many leaders to fight hard to hold onto control — but I had a real “come to Jesus” moment about this very thing when I was on a trip with my mentor years ago.
I remember being on this trip so vividly. I remember being on my phone and working nonstop. I was running my team and honestly, I was controlling it all. I had this need to be the expert, the need to be the fearless leader, the need to be the one who had the answer to everything.
I would’ve kept going on like this until I burned myself into the ground and took my team down with me, if it wasn’t for my mentor. (By the way — do you notice a little theme here? You NEED mentors!) She said, “I’m going to make you step back. I’m going to make you step away. If you don’t, you’ll never give your girls the opportunity to rise.”
I thought that this was what good leaders did. They hovered, they stayed on top of their teams, they didn’t release any control, and they ran the whole show.
I couldn’t see that by hovering so close over my team — I wasn’t giving them the space they needed to rise up. I wasn’t allowing them to develop into leaders because I never gave them the chance.
From that moment on — I started the very difficult process of giving up control. Believe me when I tell you, this was not easy at first. I had to literally white knuckle it and hold myself back to allow someone to step up and step in to answer the questions. I had to be okay with letting them fail every now and then in order to learn.
IMMEDIATELY they were edified as leaders.
IMMEDIATELY this built their confidence.
They saw themselves as contributors with value and they rose up. They took control and stepped into the opportunities that my releasing of control presented them with.
All because I ate a piece of humble pie and got out of the way.
I’m willing to bet we’ve all been a part of a team that was very much a one-woman-show. Your leader called all the shots and you just followed along. But I’m also willing to bet that as a part of those teams — it was not easy to feel like you were a valuable and integral part of the team. Because there is nothing worse than a leader who just wants that spotlight.
That’s because great leadership — great team building — is a WE thing. Not a ME thing.
When I started to grow my team I was so focused on it being a WE thing. I came to them and said — “I’ve got this idea and I want to run it by you… do you think this is a good idea?” or “What do you think about this, how should we go about solving this problem?”
And I STILL DO THIS. Because we are a team. And I firmly believe that we are better when we work together. When my team gets behind an idea — I know that it will be better than if I tried to do it on my own.
Come alongside your team, not above them. You can do so much more with them than you can on your own.
How many uncomfortable conversations do you need to have right now? How
Many people in your life or on your team would be growing even stronger as leaders if you stepped up to the plate — no matter how uncomfortable — and had the tough talk you’ve been putting off?
When I see a problem and do nothing about it, I’m literally failing as a leader. I’m not giving my team the leadership they need to succeed and grow because I’m worried about being uncomfortable.
But you have to put yourself in the middle of the ring when there are difficult conversations to have. Even as a new and emerging leader I learned this lesson.
I was at my first team retreat with 12 people and the retreat was magical and great and we were flying high and we were fired up — but I knew that there was some ick simmering under the surface. I knew there was some behavior that — if left unchecked — could destroy us. I could’ve chosen to ignore it — that would have been the more comfortable way to go — but I knew that I needed to address it.
After a long, amazing day of learning together, I sat down and looked these women in the eye and I said, “I’ve got to talk to you guys about something…” I didn’t come out accusing, I didn’t start calling out names, I didn’t throw cattiness back at them. I didn’t come at them at all. My team knew that I was here because I cared about them. That I was only saying these things because I saw their potential and the way they were acting was beneath them. I came to them ready to make them better.
Rise Nation would not be what it is now if I didn’t have that conversation. I can look back and see this moment as a turning point for our team. A moment where we really put aside the BS and started moving upward together.
Point blank: You cannot be a leader of leaders unless you lead yourself well. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and your team deserves to have a leader that is committed to their own personal growth.
Being a good leader for others starts with being a good leader of yourself. You will never be able to develop leaders and your teams if you are not leading yourself FIRST.
So how do you continue to grow?
Do you hold yourself to a high standard and honor that commitment to yourself? Do you keep commitments to yourself?
Do you show up and work at an extremely high level to get to the goals you’ve set?
Do you hold yourself to the same standards that you set for your team?
Your team needs to see that you are leading yourself well. When you are in alignment with your goals and striving towards them — your people will follow.
Set an example for your team. Be the one they can look to for guidance, support, and inspiration. Be constantly learning and surrounding yourself with mentors, teachers, and leaders that will help you grow.
Developing leaders is crucial to the success of your team. A sign of a strong leader is that they are continually bringing up even stronger leaders. Take these tips and put them to work to grow that committed, thriving, and strong team full of leaders.