Will Lukang, PMP, MBA, MASCL, CSM
Over the weekend, a meeting popped up on my calendar that’s unlike any of the other meetings I’m used to. It’s about a seminar on improving leadership presence. I was not sure I would like to attend, but I showed up anyway.
The seminar focused on imparting how to improve one’s leadership presence. In every workplace there are people who are great leaders in their respective teams, and they do a good job sharing the good news about their team’s accomplishments. They inspire their team to achieve greater things, and more importantly these leaders do a good job in letting management know who does what. So what’s wrong with these leaders? Such leaders move up the ranks but then eventually they get stuck and stop getting opportunities they deserve. This is particularly true in time of change. By that I mean change in leadership in the firm. Because these type of leaders fail to promote themselves and tell people their worth and contributions, therefore they go unnoticed.
So, what’s wrong with heads down, doing your work, and inspiring and developing your team? You’ll miss out on opportunities. Remember when your sphere of influence does not grow, it will limit the opportunities available to your team members. It’s a wakeup call for me because I see myself as that type of leader. I do a good job telling people who on my team did a great job, but I don’t tell people how I contributed to the successful outcome. As such in time of change, people would know how well my team did and might overlook the fact that I did help make it happen.
So, what is the lesson in this situation? Be comfortable with your skin and overcome the uneasiness and tell people what you did and how you helped your team achieve their goals. Remember, the more people who know your capability the more opportunity you’ll get going forward. As you rise in the management ranks, the people working on your team will have more opportunity to grow. Remember that what you’re doing is helping your team, because ultimately they will benefit from your promotion.
Let’s face it – people don’t like to deliver bad news. How many times have you been involved in projects where the project manager was aware that dates were slipping but continued to rate things as green? And people are rarely rewarded for putting their hand up – even if doing so could save substantial amounts of money. It takes real character to speak up when things are going wrong with something you are responsible for.
In the case of the financial meltdown I suspect that most companies knew there were going to be problems but failed to act because they were still making money. Exit too early and you left money on the table. Exit too late and you are left holding the baby. The whole thing became a huge game of liars poker with the losers ultimately being the American people.