Thursday, July 9, 2015

Are you scoring all the points?

 Climbing wall

“It’s great to bring new people into leadership roles,” my collaborator observed. We were chatting after he’d passed the baton to a woman in our community group (and she’ll do a fantastic job). I agreed and also thought how much better many organizations and groups would be if effective leaders like my colleague conscientiously made space for others.

Simply occupying a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader. And being a leader doesn’t mean you’re a great leader. Great leadership means creating a space for others to engage, to use their strengths in the service of your common cause (workplace, community, social, etc.), and to shine. Being a great leader often means getting out of the way, or expanding the circle, and creating the conditions by which those around you can take on a new challenge.

If you think being a leader is about racking up titles, scoring all the points, and winning all the marbles, you’d best be in a solo sport. Otherwise, ask yourself some searching questions: how many times have I moved out of the way and, in so doing, let another person occupy a space where she’d shine? How often do I stop to see talent around me and draw my community’s (or my boss’s) attention toward talent that might go unnoticed for too long?

My colleague opted to create a space for another person to grow and shine. By doing so, their working relationship had an opportunity to develop and deepen. And our organization, to gain a new perspective and continue to thrive.

What are you developing today? Or are you just trying to win in your solo sport?