Here’s a news flash: People are different! That’s one of the many reasons leadership is so challenging. However, of all the strategies I’ve experienced in my career to raise engagement, there is one that is almost fool-proof… Give people real responsibility.
Conventional wisdom says, “10,000 hours of deliberate practice will make you world-class.” A recent study from Princeton debunks this theory. I believe this is great news for leaders.
During a recent interview, I was asked: What’s the biggest insight you’ve had regarding leadership throughout your career? How about you – how would you answer that question? The microphone is yours, what would you say?
Think about the decisions you make: to enter a new market, to launch a new product, to embark on an unproven strategy, to hire a staff member, or to let one go. All of these decisions have consequences. However, some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make are the ones to stop doing something.
Most leaders don’t understand what REALLY determines their success. We mistakenly believe our trajectory is determined by what we can do. This is a half-truth. As I look back on my career, I’m not sure when I discovered this – regrettably, it was MUCH later than I should have. Do you know what is required to be a great leader?
Think about a time you were fully engaged – maybe this was at home, work, school, on a team, or part of a social club or non-profit organization. Hopefully, some people can honestly say they were fully engaged at work!
I want to live my life on purpose. As part of my ongoing attempt to do so, on a regular basis I look back at the previous twelve months. This assessment, if done well, can inform my upcoming decisions. However, every review also surfaces gaps in my life and leadership.
I met my wife in 11th grade; we were in Trigonometry together. I’m glad I was there; however, I shouldn’t have been. It became obvious fairly quickly that I was in over my head.
Leaders generally know where they are trying to go – it’s called vision. The best leaders also have a good sense of where they are today – it’s called being grounded in reality. However, the challenge is often the how. How will you move from here to there?
Engaging and developing others is one of our primary roles as a leader. For some of us this comes very naturally and for others, it is a discipline that must be cultivated. Regardless of the ease or rigor required, the leaders we admire the most figure this out.
Where do you feel connected in your life? I assume you might say family, friends, or, if you are lucky, maybe even your work. Engagement is how much we care about someone or something, and connection is one of its elemental agents. The question leaders need to ask: How do I create a place where employees will care about their work, co-workers, and the organization?