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Andy Stanley delivered a message at Leadercast 2014 about being a “Beyond You Leader.”  The following excerpt of the talk has re-inspired me consider how I invest in others and what consistently holds me back from doing it.

Here’s some key quotes from Stanley’s message.

“I don’t have everything to fill your leadership cup.  There’s not enough in me to fill your cup.  Our responsibility is to empty our cup not because it’s all there is to know, but because it’s what I know.”

When I empty my cup, “they have the advantage of knowing everything I know about what I’ve asked them to do.”

“You are smarter than you think you are. You know more than you think you know.”

“If your leadership isn’t all about you, it will live beyond you.”

So what is holding you and I back from emptying our cups.  Here are fifteen common reasons/excuses:

  1. I’m not the boss
  2. I’m not a leader
  3. I don’t have anything to say or offer
  4. I’m not smart
  5. They are smarter than me
  6. I don’t have time
  7. They won’t listen
  8. I’m not going to be here long
  9. That is someone else’s job
  10. If I pour into them, my job is at risk
  11. I can’t possibly fill their cup
  12. I’m too young
  13. I’m too old
  14. They’ve been here longer
  15. I don’t know as much as them

Some of these are more valid than others, but I believe Stanley’s “empty your cup” philosophy squashes most, if not all of them.

The key principles to being a “empty your cup” leader are…

  • Start with humility and trust
  • Serve them – Emptying your cup is not about you, it is about them
  • Add value – Send an article, share a quote, give a book.  Offer things from your cup that add value to others
  • Don’t lecture/preach – If you follow the previous three principles, you won’t likely do this; however, it can be tempting to get on a soapbox in your enthusiasm to empty your cup.

What is holding your back from emptying your cup?

Who will you invest in and start emptying your cup?


Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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