If you were asked the question “would you like to be a better person?” then how do you think you would answer? You would probably answer instinctively, like so many of the people I ask, and say something like “yes of course”. Who on earth doesn’t want to be a better person?

Then if I asked you what being a better person meant to you, and what you were doing about it, how do you think you would answer now? I guess this question would be answered less instinctively and with some degree of hesitation. Why?

We don’t have a plan

Because in reality, most people haven’t given it much thought, and do not have a plan to achieve it.

So, why does this matter? In my last blog, ‘What tragedy can teach you about leadership’, so many people commented and reflected on my strong held view that ‘better people make better leaders’. Many people embrace this, while others see it as a fanciful notion without real application in the modern business world. 

Looking outside of business, I am confident that there would be great consensus around the fact that ‘better people make better parents’? What about ‘better people make better friends, partners, boyfriends, wives?’ Of course, they do.

So now how about better people making better teachers, doctors, artists, athletes? I think we can gain strong consensus. Then, surely it makes sense that better people make better leaders.

And how incredible that through taking positive actions to be a better person, then you can improve ALL areas of your life.

This is where I choose to start my conversations with my coaching clients, and here are four areas that I invite them to embrace.

Be completely honest with yourself

Until you are able to be totally and brutally honest with yourself you will never become a better person and leader. This means accepting and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. And then being prepared to actively share and disclose these strengths and weaknesses with your team and those around you, therefore encouraging others to do the same. Great leaders inspire trust, and disclosure and being able to admit your weaknesses and mistakes is vital in inspiring that trust. And how can you be truly honest with others if you cannot first be honest with yourself?

Give more without the expectation of receiving

Being a better person and leader is about serving others. And if you give with no expectation of receiving then you will find others doing the same, and that you will start to receive more naturally. And the greatest gifts that I believe you can give are your positive energy and your time. Imagine a world where you choose to bring positive energy to every interaction, and you see others doing the same. And imagine how incredible it would be that when you spend time with your team, friends, partners, and children you are truly present and actively listen to them. Giving more than receiving becomes really enjoyable and fulfilling.

Be humble

Being a better person and leader is about humility. It is about being bold enough to have a vision and humble enough to recognise achieving it will take the efforts of many. It is about asking the many how you can help them to do what they do better, and then genuinely listening to and acting upon the answers. Humble people see the value of everyone around them.

If you want to get a view of how truly humble someone is, then watch how they treat their Uber driver, the assistant where they shop or the person waiting on their table. It’s enlightening.

Fit your own oxygen mask first

Better people and leaders take care of themselves first – in line with what the flight attendants tell us to do they always fit their own oxygen masks first. When you take care of yourself, you are a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, then you simply treat others better. And, looking after yourself means consistently completing activities that help you be at your best – exercise, good nutrition, mindfulness and high-quality sleep to name just four.

So, why not just stop thinking about and liking the idea of being a better person, but commit to it and take some small but powerful steps towards it?