Think back to an occasion when you earned yourself a new leadership position, perhaps a hard-earned promotion within an established corporate, or a great new opportunity with an ambitious go-getting young company. Maybe it was your first management role, maybe you had climbed the ladder and it was a C-suite position.
What was your first thought? (I mean after your well-deserved celebrations had subsided). When you first sat down and had a moment of quiet reflection on your own, perhaps in your new corner office, what went through your mind?
How many of you actually let your mind drift into the future and a time when you would be leaving this role; the day when your work would be done and time for you to move on? How long would that take, before you could leave the patch in a better state than when you joined, with better equipped people; new leaders who had developed themselves into your space? How many of you actually set a target date for your own removal as one of your top measures of success?
Or did you set about ‘moving in for the long haul’? Was your first instinct to get the pictures and certificates up on the walls to personalise ‘your space’? Was your diary filled within the first day with the ‘regular commitments’ that someone in your position was ‘expected’ to attend? Did you feel that ‘tug’ from your new management colleagues and peers to operate ‘with them’ and ‘like them’? In other words, did you sense a subliminal message that “this is the way it’s done around here, welcome to the club; so long as you don’t go rocking the boat with crazy new ideas, you’ll get on just fine around here”?
What kind of leaders do you remember as having influenced you and inspired you? My guess would be that it is more likely to be those that had the growth and development of their people at the top of their priority list, and not their own careers. Leaders who kept changing and adapting, while the people around them continued to grow, develop and adapt. Leaders who moved through the business, or from company to company, constantly learning and gaining experience, whilst spreading their influence, and never staying in one place so long that they became stale and ‘comfortable’.
We all know people in senior positions who have been doing the same job year after year. They may have established a reputation for ‘doing their job’ excellently, and may even have cultivated a ‘belief’ that no-one else could do it as well as them. In many of these cases, on deeper examination, we find people who are scared for their own position. They may be fearful of new talent and new ideas (both of which threaten the defences they have built around themselves), and unlikely to be encouraging people around them to take on greater responsibility.
True Leadership is not self-serving and not determined by positional authority. It is concerned with the growth and development of people, with the spread of knowledge and ideas. It strives for continuing improvement and effectiveness in systems, processes and communication, and it is ultimately about generating new leaders. Success in all of these areas, allows the leader to quietly slip away, knowing that the process of growth and development will continue, being led by new hands. New challenges and opportunities always await the effective leader.
If you feel that you or members of your management team would benefit from exploring ways to make substantial improvements to personal and collective effectiveness and productivity, please do get in touch. Simply submit your contact details on the Contact Us page and I will be delighted to get in touch with you for an informal initial chat.
What do I do?: I enable people in business to operate more successfully. They may be struggling to implement their corporate strategy, they may want to get more productivity out of their teams (without using bonuses) but don’t know where to start, or their people may not be having as effective conversations with each other as they could be. I will work with you to enable you to formulate more effective ways of leading, to raise awareness of blockers to successful ways of working, and ultimately to help you to lead more successfully.