The Gifts of Leadership: What You Really Do For Others

This morning, I’m thinking about gifts that touch us deeply and change us profoundly. I’m not thinking about a bottle of wine or tickets to a play.

The first gift leaders give is belief.


Doubt is a virtue. 

You doubt rosy reports and projections. You doubt everyone who says, “Don’t worry.” You’re skeptical of unproven systems and untested people. Leaders believe cautiously.

If you’re smart, you doubt yourself a little. But a little doubt, like hot sauce, goes a long way.

Those who change us believe in us.


Big sticks make bosses. But the tool of influence is belief. 

The more you believe in someone, the more influence you have with them. The less you believe in someone, the more resistance they feel toward you.

Someone believed in you. Be that person for someone else.

Failure and belief:

Belief means most when it’s difficult to give.

Nothing says I believe in you like a second chance.

Believe when someone fails responsibly. (Responsible failure happens when someone gives their best and fails.)

A third or fourth chance – after the same failure – says you’re irresponsible. You should have changed something.

The gift of belief:

Leaders change us when they believe in us.

  1. Rely on someone today. Give them a small project with a short timeline if they’re untested. Belief says, “I’m counting on you.”
  2. Demonstrate confidence today. Everyone on your team knows more about something than you. Ask a question. Go with their answer.
  3. Respect someone today. Don’t judge them by who you are. See their strengths. A statement like, “You’re really good at taking responsibility,” says, “I believe in you.”

If people believe in you, teach them to believe in themselves.

What are some gifts leaders give others?

How might leaders demonstrate belief in others today?