Are You Adding Value Or Subtracting Value

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Somewhere someone has been inspired by you.

Somewhere someone has been empowered by you.

Somewhere someone has done an act of kindness because of you.

Somewhere someone has taken on a challenge because of you.

Adding value doesn’t occur by accident, nor is it something that happens on its own, like the tides. The best leaders add value intentionally by knowing what is important and making choices based on that knowledge.

But true leaders know that the question, whether they are adding value, is not the only question, they are also asking themselves if they are subtracting value too.

Are you adding value to yourself or subtracting value from the person who matters the most?

Are you acquiring new skills? Are you spending your time on improving your competencies? Are you working on your leadership and adding value to your life, or are you squandering your time with the same old- same old?

Are you adding value to your team or subtracting value from those you care about the most?

Are you delegating to others to show that you trust them? Are you eliminating the barriers that make others feel useful and important? Are you allowing your team to step into their roles and step out with their talent? Or are you controlling and micromanaging? Do you need to pull back from doing and spend more time advising?

Are you adding value to your family or subtracting value from those you love the most?

Do you hold family paramount? Do you remember to cultivate a relationship with your family, to give something to and for them on a daily basis? Sometimes we get busy and we forget to make the time. Are you checked in or checked out? Make family a priority, and make decisions that benefit those you love. The concept of making a difference for your family holds families together in tough times as well as good.

Are you adding value to the things you hold dear or subtracting value from what you regard the most?

There is a cause or an issue out there with your name on it—something important to you, someplace where you can serve and make a difference in a way that is unique to you. Have you sought it out and cultivated involvement? Are you devoting energy every day into making a difference or are you waiting for the right time, right place, right people to appear in your life?

Many times we are subtracting value without even realizing it, but true leadership is always being mindful and always asking am I adding or subtracting?

To be the most successful as a leader, find the time to ground yourself daily in the things that are most important to you: Your own leadership, your team, your family, your passions.

Lead From Within: Stop and think. Are you adding value or subtracting value? Think hard where you want to concentrate your efforts, and where you most want to make the most difference because that is where you leadership and life begins.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

29 Responses to “Are You Adding Value Or Subtracting Value”

  1. Jesse Stoner

    23. Dec, 2014

    Wonderful questions, Lolly! It’s so easy to answer with a quick “yes,” but the thought-provoking questions you ask in each area gets at the heart of the matter. Bookmarking this so I can continue contemplate these questions.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Dec, 2014

      Thanks Jesse

      So wonderful to see you on my site. Contemplating on these questions can be a change maker and a live safer.


      Reply to this comment
  2. LaRae Quy

    23. Dec, 2014

    Great list of questions, Lolly!

    A perfect time of the year to evaluate whether we’re part of the answer, or part of the problem—in many areas of our life!

    I will use these questions as I look at both life and business in 2015.

    Happy Holidays and have a Great New Year!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Solomon

    24. Dec, 2014

    Lolly, great post! As we often run to achieve our goals, we often overlook the impacts our actions have on others. We might have added value to our teams, for example, but then we don’t really care whether we subtract value from others. The questions you raised are like wake up calls for me to assess the value I hope I would add to others without subtracting someone else’s.

    Thanks a lot and happy holidays!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Peter Chee

    24. Dec, 2014

    I really liked this article because you’re focused on it in a holistic manner: work, family, team. I always ask myself how do I feel after I’m with someone, did I get more energy or lose energy with that person. I also need to be very reflective of whether or not I’m giving off more energy too — am I adding or subtracting value from the person I’m interacting with. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Dec, 2014

      Life is holistic.

      We must be mindful of all parts of ourselves inside and out and teams and family and all that we do.

      Thank You Peter.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Judy Robinett

    25. Dec, 2014

    While at Larry King’s Christmas party, his wife Shawn had given all of us guests a small flashlight. She then asked us to think of what gift we have that can make the world a better place. She reflected a moment then turned her light on upward and asked each of us to do this. It was magnificent.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Dec, 2014

      Fantastic story!

      Thank you so much for sharing.


      Reply to this comment
    • Muange Emmanuel

      15. Aug, 2015

      You can’t add value to others if you don’t add value to yourself.By constantly indulging yourself with positively valued people and being extraordinary in doing the right things even when no one is watching shapes you to be the person you truly will want to be associated with.when positive energy is coming out of you,your more likely to add value to people lives because people tend to believe not only from what they hear but from what they see.Thank you Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Terry Thames

    26. Dec, 2014

    I appreciate this “food for thought” as I head into a new year and new phase of my life journey. I want to always add value. Daily reflection is like conducting a store inventory and I need to know what is in stock!!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Don Jensen

    26. Dec, 2014

    Lolly, You make me want to be a better leader! Enjoy your post and have a wonderful blessed New Year. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Terry Thames

    26. Dec, 2014

    This is such an empowering message and one everyone who reads it will acknowledge and give thanks for it so reveals a purposeful life. Thus one is tasked each and every day.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Terry Thames

    26. Dec, 2014

    There will be moments in time when one will be uncertain as what to do next– that is okay, pausing gives one a chance to think carefully before making a choice. That is a good thing. When something is that important a sound mind and a sure heart is a ” must” for then the choice made will be the right one. Prayer is an inherent part of that pausing and moreover it is an absolute essential.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Terry Thames

    26. Dec, 2014

    I am filled with joy and His love and special grace give me reason to reflect and offer thanks from a grateful heart. My soul wants to shout ” Thanks be to God!” as loudly as I can today and always for the value that has been added to my life.
    May everyone find this type of joy and value added to their lives for it gives the soul peace and hope for all bright tomorrows .

    Reply to this comment
  11. Catalin

    02. Feb, 2015

    Thank you, Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  12. Barry Rapoport (@morethanjustus)

    16. Jul, 2015

    I have been reading your writing on Twitter for a long time, It is very clear and very helpful. Thank you for “adding value” and sharing so freely so much of your wisdom.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Muange Emmanuel

    15. Aug, 2015

    You cannot add value to others if you don’t add value to yourself.By constantly grounding yourself with the right people and extraordinarily doing the right things even when no one is watching adds value to oneself.” Adding value doesn’t come by chance but by doing”More positive energy coming out of you will add value to human beings because they not only believe in what they hear but also in what they see.Thank you Lolly Daskal.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Ryan Copeland

    05. Oct, 2015

    This article just added value to my life.

    Reply to this comment
  15. John

    28. Oct, 2015

    To examine each of your questions requires honesty if one hopes to add value to themselves.

    Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Sophie Sanders

    09. Sep, 2016

    Lolly, this is such a great article! It is so eye-opening. So often we forget to really focus in on the important things and people because we get “too busy” caught up in the lesser things.

    Reply to this comment


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