A few years ago, I spoke with Liz Dennery Sanders of SheBrand, about the top leadership themes everyone should have on their radar.

One of the themes refuses to come down from the #1 spot: helping executives avoid losing their top performers.

I remain optimistic (cautious, yes) that things are getting better. I see subtle signs in the small businesses I frequent and I hear resounding trumpets from some of my clients—like the ecstatic sales director in a workshop this week, who talked wildly about his organization (and no, it wasn’t simply because it’s his job to be a raving fan).

In creating plans for executives to coach their stars 1:1 and in teams, there are some ideas I return to often and then some new ones that pop up.

A favorite in the last few years remains the book Greater Than Yourself by Steve Farber.

The title refers to the book’s theme: amazing leaders help others become better, greater, more powerful, more awesome than themselves.

Why don’t leaders do this already? Why don’t more people view relationships as ways to make others greater, greater than they themselves are? Why isn’t there more joy in creating success in someone else? Why isn’t it acceptable? Or mandated?

Should I ask someone to help me become greater? Should I make sure I am ready to be asked myself? Whom should I choose?

The relationships Steve discusses in the book develop through a common connection and honesty that is already established and most times has happened naturally. But they become much more powerful when both sides subtly see what they are doing for each other.

Many of my weekly conversations allow me to help executives to be so much greater than me. For the leaders I coach 1:1, it becomes part of our common language: “How will this help someone become greater than you?”

As this week ends, I would like you to think about what you can do so one of your star performers—someone you don’t want to and can’t afford to lose—becomes greater than you.  And post your thoughts and comments below.

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