Rarely do we get where we’re going alone. Every stage of life and career is influenced by others—and those who see and enable potential in the people around them have some of the greatest impact of all. Personal and professional success comes, in part, as a result of leaders who take an active interest and role in developing team members. When a leader pushes the boundaries of an employee’s perception of his or her capabilities, it not only develops new skills and acumen, it builds the kind of confidence needed in fast-paced, ever-shifting work environments.
We invite you to read a great perspective on recognizing and cultivating potential from one of Milestone Leadership’s Soderquist Fellows:
“When I began working for Milestone Leadership as a new fellow, I walked in the door feeling like I was just a student. I was convinced l was incapable of taking on the things I was told I would be doing.
"I kept thinking to myself, ‘Don’t you know I don’t know how to do this? Why do you trust me enough to give me this role? I’m unqualified…don’t you see this?'
"Yet, every personal doubt of mine was met with encouragement from my leaders. I was surrounded by people who believed in me and my capacity to learn—they saw my potential before I saw it myself.
"I was pushed and stretched in ways I couldn’t have imagined, challenged every day by people who trusted and cared for me. I learned I could be the person they saw in me, and I began to move outside of my comfort zone toward a role bigger than I would have ever defined for myself.
"The expectations were very high, but with that came so much trust in my abilities. That unconditional trust has changed my outlook as a young professional. What an honor it has been to have people believe in me so strongly, while caring for me enough to push me to my fullest potential through meaningful feedback. I learned that receiving ongoing feedback should be normal from a team—not because I was wrong, but because I was capable of more and better.
"As I leave my role at Milestone, I carry with me what we refer to as ‘humble confidence.’ I learned to have confidence in my and my company’s ability to deliver excellence, but with the humbleness that the outcome wasn’t about me. It was always about serving others.
"My leaders trusted and cared enough about me as a person to push me to my fullest potential. I now feel ready and qualified to step into my next opportunity, eager to contribute to others and embrace a fresh mission and culture.”
-Marisa Judson, Soderquist Fellow and Project Coordinator, Milestone Leadership
At Milestone Leadership, we know leaders worth following are those who help team members build from the place of their own strengths, while recognizing and addressing areas that need development. They willingly trust their followers, giving ample room to stretch and grow—but offer meaningful and constructive feedback and the confidence of a soft place to land and regroup when things don’t go as planned.
Who saw and appreciated your potential enough to guide, shape and encourage you along your path? Thank them.
Marisa Judson joined the Milestone Leadership team as a Soderquist Fellow in 2017 and completed her MBA with an emphasis in Market Research and Consumer Insights at John Brown University in the spring of 2019. During her fellowship, she was instrumental in helping coordinate outstanding leadership experiences for hundreds of professionals, as well as managed a wide array of marketing responsibilities for the organization. Marisa will begin the next phase of her career as an account manager with Field Agent, strengthened with the healthy confidence and capabilities that have grown exponentially as a result of working with a team of people who immediately saw and cultivated her enormous potential.