It’s very easy to get turned off by this message as someone who is in a leadership position but you’ll never achieve what you could and should if you don’t persevere. After all True Leaders do persevere, its built in, otherwise they would have run away years ago.
As leaders we often review our actions against our intent, sometimes we are assured we did the right thing, other times we accept we did not and more often than most people want to admit we bluff our way through and hope no one noticed (they always do).
Success is measured in many ways
Success comes in many forms focusing on the bottom line without context to staff, clients or culture is the quickest way to end your business opportunities.
Sales, sales, sales, sales!!
Unfortunately this is not leadership and usually indicates a total lack of connection, sales in the form of new business is about building a new relationship, it’s a kind of dating having someone on the side asking if a contract is signed often destroys the relationship before it can begin. This is not the only woeful practice the 1980’s and 1990’s it still seems to drive the most shocking behaviours that for clients would send them running for the doors but internally in organisations are considered the way to success and elevation.
Success is often accidental
Leaders can just sometimes be fortunate the smart ones declare the team effort, the naive (to the pressure it creates to be right all the time) that it was all them. Regardless of how we articulate success, there is a constant drive to do new things, exciting things, to innovate and drive the organisation’s vision on. Unfortunately the people capable of original thinking are infinitesimally rare and even if the leader of the organisation had the first original idea, it may be their only one, in their lifetime.
Leading success requires different thinking
Moving forward requires a different kind of thinking then, it needs to focused on the in house team (please don’t be too hard on in house people many of them have spent years being told to tow the line and now they are being told to rock the boat instead of hide under it, they are institutionalised) and where often needed subject matter catalysts (people who don’t want a job, but want to do good work) from outside. No matter what kind of work you do, you need the voice of your customers/clients/users etc., opinionated (pushing an internal agenda) staff don’t and can’t speak for them, you need the real thing.
The next thing a True Leader needs is an open mind, remember;
If you always do what you have always done, you’ll always have what you always had. Can you maintain the past and still have a future?
Well, not exactly, you may not have the past or in fact a future if your customers or potential customers have moved on and you have not.
A leader will listen to many voices and make a decision about what to do, great leader will accept that there are people with better knowledge and experience and use that to decide, their next best action. More they will be willing to accept that not only do they need help, but it will need other peoples playbook to deliver whatever is needed. All too often people take other people’s ideas and expect it to work for them, it rarely does. And often it will create more damage than good.
A Leader will listen and absorb the useful inputs from others a Great Leader will set aside pride and act on those inputs, using other people’s skills and knowledge. This is the reason consultancies and subject matter expert services exist.
Unfortunately ego and pride are the most common failure points in companies and no amount of marketing or technology can fix the inability of company leaders to accept that they cannot be the experts in everything and that they should not try.
Even companies that employ consultancy services may only do it for personal validation rather than fixing problems.
Growing up is painful
In all these experiences true leaders will recognise that growing up is painful and that
the only thing worse than learning from a bad experience is not learning from a bad experience and having it again when it could have been avoided completely
It is the emotions that drive some of humanity’s greatest achievements and worst experiences. Great achievements are often born from chaos where the environment is the catalyst to create something new, conversely the same is true of awful experiences. The pivot point is the person and their mental model, human capacity and connectivity and their relative maturity in shared constructs like society, communication, democracy, wealth etc.
As leaders in business, just as a leader in your personal life your maturity through relevance enables you to set value and principles around how you work with people, see their inputs and drive towards innovation, cultural cohesiveness often projected into digital convenience.
No one has arrived but true leaders know they are working on themselves, they are aligning to a common understanding of cultural context, values which then set expectation on self and others. I’ve said before and it still true, true leaders lead from the front and don’t expect others to do what they won’t themselves, they grow up emotionally and encourage others to do the same.
Growing up Emotionally for leaders means fixing insecurities by converting them into securities
In all this there is a huge amount of work to do on ourselves but the impact on colleagues is amazing. They change from working to supporting, from time focused to outcome focused because you changed from being the boss to being a colleague and a mentor.