The Joy of Helping

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One of my must-reads every week is Adam Bryant’s “Corner
Office” column in the New York Times. He gives us condensed versions of long
interviews with CEOs. What I like most is that, week after week, Bryant lets us
see human CEOs. Every one is a mix of strengths and weaknesses, positives and

A great example of the column is the one from last Sunday, an interview with Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus
. As I read it I found myself thinking “Are you kidding?” and, just
a sentence or two later pumping my fist and mentally shouting “Yes!” Buried
about two thirds of the way through the interview was this gem.

“That’s part of becoming a manager — that you really have to enjoy enabling
people, more than doing the actual work. And so I want people who are good
managers to be managers.”

There are some things we can’t train into a new boss. I can’t teach you to
“enjoy enabling people,” but if you show up with that attitude, your odds of
success as a boss go way up.

Think about it. A boss’s job is to help the team and the team members
succeed. If you don’t like helping others succeed, you have to force yourself to
it and you’re not likely to it well.

I call it the “Joy of Helping Factor” and it may be part of the secret sauce
that makes for great boss success.

Boss’s Bottom Line

When you’re considering who might make a good boss, look for the Joy of
Helping Factor. Does the person pitch in to help the team succeed and take time
to help others succeed?

Additional Resource

Adam Bryant has written a book based on his Corner Office interviews. It’s
called The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs
on How to Lead and Succeed
. It’s not a simple collection of columns.
Instead Bryant shares his conclusions about what makes for CEO success and
illustrates his points with material from his interviews. It’s a great book, and
one you’ll dip into again and again.

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