About NACo – The Voice of America’s Counties National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the U.S. NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 coun- ties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innova- tive solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. You can’t wait to be great

Story by Tim Rahschulte For NACo

or thought that you’re not going to give 100 percent of your skills and abilities because you think your boss is an idiot, your team is just not worth it or you’re not getting paid enough or don’t have the right title or it’s just not worth your time? Tis is understandable sometimes, but it’s also illogical. It’s understandable because you want to feel and see a sense of fairness. But we all know that life’s not fair. What you should be aware of is the fact that you’re always being watched. Whether you want to be or not, you are. And more than just being watched, you’re being judged. You’re being watched all the time, and people are making judgments about you all the time. If you don’t feel that you have a great leader or boss or manager and therefore are not going to show up in a great way, how then do you show up? If it’s not your best, then it’s some- thing closer to average or worse, and that’s how people see you. So, the fact that you’re waiting for someone around


ow often have you been disengaged because you saw others disengaged? How often have you said

you to be great (or greater) is causing you to not be great. How illogical is that? You don’t have control over who your boss is. You don’t always have control over who’s on your team. You do, how- ever, have control over how you show up. If you show up in average ways, you’re going to find averageness all around you. If you think there’s averageness all

around you and you show up in the great way you’re capable of, you’ll start to see the average get better. People aren’t watching you only to make judgments; more likely, they’re watching you to take cues as to how to make sense of a very complex world and, in turn, how to act themselves. When they see mediocrity, they’ll base their expectations around that level of performance and come to believe that averageness is okay, desired or maybe even the best that’s possible. Ryan Russell, who leads the human-

centered design work at Amazon, re- minded me that there’s a big difference in knowing the difference between aver- age and great. He said, “When you have great people, you attract great people. Great people make people feel great.” Tat, in part, is what the best lead-

ers do. And it’s what the best followers do, too. Trough our actions, we help enable people to do great things and in

that process, we attract great people, and they also attract great people. If we have an average manager, we can help that person get better. If we have an average teammate, we can help that person get better. But we can help them get better only if we choose to be great all the time. Remember, excellence is not an ex- ception. You can’t wait to have a great leader or great teammates for you to show up in a great way. Make the con- scious decision to show up great and to be great all the time. Now you might think that “all the time” is a lot. Yes, it is. Te greatest leaders know that the best never give up their enthusiasm to be great and to do great things. Tey make the decision to be great every day. Louie Ehrlich, the former president and chief information officer at Chev- ron said, “Everything you do has an influence, whether you like it or not.” Tere’s no escaping that fact as a leader. You’re always being watched, and your actions are always influencing others.

Tim Rahschulte is the CEO of the Pro- fessional Development Academy and chief architect of the NACo High Performance Leadership Program ( He is the co-author of “My Best Advice: Proven Rules for Effective Leadership.” COUNTY LINES, FALL 2019 41

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