Part of a leader’s job is to help people see that the place they are going is worth the trip to get there. – Ron K
I took a third-world finance class in grad school and I remember one of the keys to improving the lives of people in undeveloped and underdeveloped countries is helping them see a compelling vision of what life could be like. The point is that forward movement in these places often involves significant pain and sacrifice. People will not make that sacrifice for only a small improvement. Unless they capture and buy into a picture of a life far better than they now experience they will chose to stay stuck in their current pattern. Yet, if they can collaboratively craft a vision of the “promised land”, it is possible for them make real progress together.
As a leader, our job is quite similar. We need to help people become captivated by the destination and then want to take ownership of it. If it becomes part of them then they will be much more likely to go through the bumps in the road that are part of every journey. Frequently, the objective lies beyond the horizon so the ability to continually keep a picture of the finish line in front of them is vital. This type of collaborative leadership is powerful and invigorating for a team.
Depending on your age and working environment history this type of leadership may require growth and change. But leadership without growth isn’t really leadership anyway. Those we lead should be able to expect that from us. I came across an excerpt from a presentation by Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic. It challenged me to keep growing in own leadership and I hope it challenges you as well.
In my experience — perhaps oversimplified — you can separate all leaders into two categories: those for whom leadership is about their success and those who are leading to serve others.
The command and control leadership is dead, says George. Instead, he offers, a leadership definition for new generations of leaders:
They are authentic leaders who bring people together around a shared mission and values and empower them to lead, in order to serve their customers while creating value for all their stakeholders.
Whether your customer is a client, members of a church, or a consumer of your product or service, they will best be served by a thriving team. A team captivated by where they are headed and empowered to lead, grow and innovate along the way. And in my 40 years of working experience seeing the people we lead thrive is in fact, one of the greatest joys of leadership.
Are you creating a capitative culture of leadership?
Live this week on purpose,