I was an unlikely CEO.
Even though I graduated from college with an English and Education degree, my first real job was as a production supervisor in a small manufacturing business. And I loved it. It was sort of like teaching. Getting a group of people to do something that they couldn't or wouldn't do on their own.
I made another career out of helping people get stuff done through and with other people. It is the best job I could ever imagine - Leading Leaders to Significance
You are the lid for your organization.
Your organization will never accomplish more than you as the leader enable it to accomplish. It will not perform better than you perform. It will not learn better than you learn. You are the choke point.
Name one organization that is stronger than its leader. I can’t think of one. Even countries and international organizations are direct reflections of the person that leads them. If the leader is innovative, a thoughtful risk-taker and places high value on people so does the organization. If the leader is thin on morals, high on greed, so is the organization.
If the leader is the choke point for the growth of the organization, how does the organization grow?
The leader must choose to grow.
Jim Collins says in Good to Great that there are just two characteristics common to really good leaders. The first is personal will. An effective leader knows where the organization is going and how it’s going to get there. And settles for nothing less. The second common characteristic is humility. Knowing that there is no leader alive that has all the answers, has all the energy, knows all the people necessary to make the organization successful. A really good leader knows that it always takes just a little more to take the team to the next level.
A really good leader grows before the organization grows, acts before the organization acts, and changes before the organization changes.
How else can a leader show the way (lead)?
Everyone is a leader.
Some are just better at it than others.
Leadership is a mindset backed up with a set of learnable skills that with constant attention to growth, feedback, and practice gets stronger just like a muscle.
I believe that anyone who has a desire can be a better leader with a little nurturing. The learnable skills of leadership are not mysterious or arcane, they are readily available. The trouble is there is so much information on how to be a better leader that it often becomes overwhelming to someone who has discovered that by situation or choice they have become an entrepreneur and now have people looking to them to be their model leader, whatever that means.
My job is to lead emerging leaders who want and need to become someone worthy of following, to significance by example.
Significance is what the emerging leader wants for him or herself and, while there are always similarities, effective leadership depends on effectively using the unique experience, knowledge, motivation and talent of each individual. And just as everyone is just a bit different, so are the styles and implementation of the tools of leadership.
Effectively mentoring leaders requires:
Getting and keeping the best players is hard work and you have to know that it’s your most important work. If you don’t like people, consider a different place in your organization. Being the leader requires that you immerse yourself, body and soul, in people.
Your success depends on their success and theirs, yours. You are joined at the heart. The more you invest yourself in them, the more they will work for you and the meaning that you give them. And you must give them meaning.
And affirmation, you must give them opportunities to perform and succeed. When they do succeed, sometimes even when they get close, you must praise the effort and the good parts of the result.
And belonging. You have to give them a reason to want to be a significant part of your team. People want to be a member of a group who values their contribution. All people need a tribe.
As you dive into this incredibly important aspect of the game, get it in your head that you have to have people to get the work done. They multiply your energy, they make your ideas better and without them very little will happen. The better the people, the more success you will enjoy.
People are your most important job.
Yes to all of the above.
Leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of their employees, their clients and customers, and the communities they serve, generate dynamic results by building:
First, accept the fact that not everyone thinks like you. There are lots of very capable and wonderful people who want to be a contributing member of a team.
They want to be led, and led well.
There are also a few like you who want to lead teams of people.
My experience is that really good leaders are also usually good followers. As a good leader your job then is to build a culture in which people are given opportunities to perform, like you, at their highest level. Some will find their place as leaders of people, others will find their places as leaders of projects.
You MUST delegate to multiply your energy and influence, finding people who are capable and passionate about things at which you may not be so well qualified. Which means spending a significant amount of your time as coach helping others find their “place”.