Help Others Define Their Success and Achieve Results

Monday, January 4 2021

Who defines your success?

Take a minute and reflect whether it is you or those around you. If it is not you, is it possible you are living someone else’s choices for your life?

To feel good about our success we need input into our own goals. We must be involved and agree upon the measured outcomes that define our successes.

As a leader are you involving others in decisions that affect their lives and careers?  Do you spend time to achieve agreement on goals and expectations, or do you dictate? Some of you may feel “I am the boss I have the right to tell people what to do” and that is technically correct. However, if you want people to be fully engaged and invested in achieving results for the organization, involve them, help them define their success.

Consider how these approaches allow others to feel in control of their behaviours and contribute to their successes:


When we try to control people, they tend to resist. The more we push, the greater the resistance. This causes reactance, a psychological phenomenon that leaves individuals feeling resentful that their freedom is restricted. Reduce this unproductive state by involving individuals in mutually setting expectations and obtaining agreement on the results.


Delegate achieving the result and then allow those responsible to choose the path to get to it. If, as a leader, you tend to micromanage, ensure agreement on how others will communicate with you. Keeping you in the loop will help to reduce interference. If these commitments are not kept, then you can address the situation and become involved if necessary.

Ask, don’t tell

The best way to help individuals to be fully engaged, define their own commitments and solve their own problems is to ask questions. These questions should be open-ended versus directed: “What do you feel would be the next best step?” or “Is this document ready to send out to the client?” Directed questions are often just disguised telling: “If you did this, would that work?”


When questions are asked, effective open-minded listening needs to happen. Use my Duct Tape Rule. Ask the question and then imagine putting duct tape over your mouth so you cannot speak until the other person has finished talking. Be empathic and seek to understand their perspective.


Coach regularly and focus on the person. Become skilled in the four key elements of coaching: Commitment, Guidance, Support and Accountability.

Helping others to define and take responsibility for their own success will create an environment of collaboration and build your organization’s results.