I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, speaking, and writing about effective leadership. It's been such a big part of my professional and personal life for so long that I don't really know anything else. Sometimes I'm convinced I've figured out the key pieces of being a leader...and at other times I feel like I'm just getting started.
...and that's where the trouble begins...
Title and Being Right
For many leaders having a fancy job title equates with their opinion always being the correct one. This is a colossal failure, and sadly happens regularly to those who find themselves with new authority or power.
Let's pause for a moment to remember what leaders are supposed to do. Our task is to guide, inspire, support and harness the power of the bright people around us. Our job is not to be an idea factory that squashes the creative genius of our teams.
Are you with me? It's not about us...it's about us leading our colleagues!
Title and Vision
Here's where thing get a little tricky. Leaders need to have a vision of how the team, department, organization or industry can be in the future. Their needs to be an inner drive to move toward that vision that gets the people around you fired up.
However, the path to achieving that vision needs to be a shared process. When leaders who are unaccustomed to new found power, combine their enthusiasm with "their vision" we quickly find ourselves with a disengaged team and embarrassing credibility issues for the leader.
Remember the Emperor with no clothes? Well...you get my point.
How About You
Think about the leaders you work with...and think about your own leadership style. Is the combination of power and vision compromising your ability to inspire, support and leverage the team's creativity?
If so, it might be time to reach for a towel and cover up.
I'd love to hear from you.