Leader must give up

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give upA leader is often the person that helps a team reach a goal that they otherwise thought they could not achieve.   They inspire everyone around them to act and persevere until the goal is achieved.   In many ways, their constituents look to the leader for encouragement and direction. Their guidance is what helps the team overcome adversity.

At times, people think that the leader has all the answers and is knowledgeable or a subject matter expert. If a leader falls into the trap of being all for everyone, they will not be successful.   In order for a leader to be effective and efficient, they need to give up and let go certain things.

Here are some of the things a leader must give up:

  • Making all decisions – leaders must empower their people that are closest to the problem to come up with solutions or recommendations, because they are the domain experts.
  • Let go – at times we are tempted to do everything ourselves, because we can get it done faster.   Also we deemed that the times spent on teaching someone can best be served addressing the issue. But that is a false expectation. If we don’t teach everyone around us to fish, they will always expect us to give them the fish.   It is best to invest the time to teach someone; this way they can help in the future.
  • Talking at all times – it is important to communicate, but it is equally important to listen.   By listening to your constituents, you will learn more about your audience and understand their challenges and identify opportunities.
  • Control – extend the ropes for your people to prove to you that they can get it done. However, always be there to support and nurture them. Be there to catch them when they fall, but let them learn the lesson before they move on.
  • Assuming perfection – you can try to be on top of the situation at all times, but you don’t have to be. You need to surround yourself with the right people to get things done. Knowing who to seek help from or tap to get things done is more important than trying to be the expert.

 

At times it is okay to give up; a leader must give up for the right reason. Empowering their constituents and investing the time to develop them will be key to the overall success of the organization.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my post shares it with your friends or share your perspective, because it will help me grow and develop.

Accessible Leader

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analazing market situationEarlier in my career, I worked for firms in which the middle and senior management folks are in nice corner offices and not accessible for their constituents.   This created a sense of mystique that when you made it to that level you have your privacy.   In the years that I’ve worked there, I’ve seen the owner of the company a few times, but never had any interaction with him.   Back then I would not dare to set up an appointment, because I didn’t think that he would meet with me, not to mention I’d not seen any of my peers meeting with him.   When I wandered down the executive side of the building, the secretary often asked, “Why are you here?”

In my over 23 years of experience in the Information Technology field, I spent almost seven years in consulting. During that period, I had the same experience in which senior management folks were not accessible.   In fact, they did not acknowledge their constituents when they walked the hallway.   It led me to believe that is the way things are when you make it to the top. In my opinion, it looked lonely up there.

When I joined Prudential in 2000, my experience changed, as our Senior Vice President would walked the hall and talked to their constituents.   He would stop by to ask how you’re doing and talk to people.   He showed interest in his people and was accessible, a huge departure from my many years of experience.   Because of the dot net boom, I was located in the hallway. One day he stopped by and spoke to me. I was surprised by that experience and was not sure what to make of it.   Over the next few years I worked for him and blossomed in every role that he assigned me to work in.   It is indeed the best 7 years of my career.

What I learned was that leaders who are in tune with their constituents are able to motivate and mobilize their people.   It shows they care about their people; therefore their people are willing to go above and beyond.   We are challenged like any other firm that I worked for, but I felt a sense of allegiance and connection to our overall vision.   In many ways, I model my leadership style from him.   He is a mentor to many people in the organization and always in developing people around him.   He challenged everyone, but also provides you with the help and support to enable you to succeed.

Having experienced both types of leaders, I can say that it is better to be an accessible leader.   Your constituents need to see that you are there for them and support them no matter the situation.   I’ve made it a point to let my folks know that I have an open-door policy and that I’m there for them.   The reality is that I cannot address all their challenges or issues, but I can guarantee that I’ll be there to listen. I apply active listening to let them know I’m there for them.   Thank you to Bob, who made a difference in my career.   I would not be where I am without his influence. It is the very reason that I dedicate my career to help others as my way of paying it forward.

Do you believe that an accessible leader is better in leading an organization? Let me know your thoughts.