Years ago, I learned a valuable, unexpected leadership lesson. Upon returning from a vacation, I found myself wound tight on the first morning back. This was not uncommon for me. This particular time one of the men working for me said something that changed my leadership perspective. He said, “You know, when you come back this worked up it’s as though you don’t trust me.” The funny thing is, I did trust him. I just had it in my mind as the boss that I needed to be sitting behind my boss desk, doing boss things – whether they were critical or not. Somehow that was leadership. Yet, that is not at all the essence of leadership, it’s just stupid.
Since that time. I have come to embrace one of the real keys in leadership – empowering others so they can grow, and themselves become effective leaders. Sometimes this is referred to as replicating yourself. I don’t think that really hits the mark, because people are different. We have different skill sets, personalities and strengths. On a team, this diversity adds significant value. Furthermore, it is necessary because we all have blind spots.
As a primary leader one role that is pivotal is to articulate the vision and mission so that others buy in and then want to move it forward. The way they do it may not look like the way I would do it…and that is OK. In fact, it may even be better. When people get excited about what they are engaged in, the best of them often rises to the surface. And that is fun to see. One of the great joys of leadership is seeing those you lead thrive.
And the bi product of that is that is less pressure and less stress on the primary leader. They are freed from orchestrating every outcome. It also lays a foundation from which both the organization and its people can grow. Beyond that, it positions the organization to live on to the next generation. A startling 70% of founder/entrepreneur started organizations fail to survive the second generation. It seems to me this is often not the result of an inept second-generation leader, but a first-generation leader failing to prepare others and learning to let go.
What about you? Are you creating a culture of leadership where others grow and thrive? In other words, “Is there success after you?”
Your leadership heritage is measured by how well things would move ahead if you dropped dead tomorrow. (Leadership Proverbs, David Stevens & Bert Jones)
Live this week on purpose,