FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Colleagues
True leadership isn’t manifest during the leader’s tenure. It shines well beyond.
Becoming a manager requires the stroke of a pen, an entry into an HRM database, the inclusion of a new title. Becoming a leader happens in the minds and hearts of those who may decide to follow the leader. The two are often sought simultaneously (formal authority and informal persuation), but almost always achieved separately.
Quoting perennial business leadership guru, Jack Welch, “The moment you become the leader, it stops being about you, and it starts being about them – your people.” He’s right. The sooner a new manager figures out that his responsibility is no longer doing the work, but rather coordinating the work of others, the faster he is able to tap the collective genius, strength and ability of the group. Too many new managers attempt to make themselves indispensable to the company. They retain information – after all, knowledge is power. And they remain trapped in the if-I-want-it-done-right-I’ll-do-it-myself mindset. Breaking free means sitting on your hands when you are tempted to do it yourself, biting your tongue when you feel the urge to spew out your ready-answers, and generally allowing people to take risk, and sometimes fail, in order to reinforce their own learning and growth, not to validate your own expertise and lordship.
So then, how is true leadership made manifest only after his tenure?
The leader who loses herself in her colleagues’ development inspires confidence – confidence in the leader, and more importantly confidence in themselves. The leader who aligns business processes and systems with the organization’s values generates trust. Then, those next-generation leaders find increased productivity, innovation, and zeal in the empowered culture that takes hold.
Finally, the leader leaves, and no one notices.
This is the moment her genius shines. It is at this instant where the organization continues to thrive and spontaneously generate new leaders and sustained results that people realize the fruits of the former boss’ labors. And that is how the newly departed leader – the ‘leadership generator’ – makes herself indispensable.
Another gem from Schwartz’s, “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working:”
“In a famous series of experiments, researcher Alex Rechtschaffen and his colleagues at the University of Chicago put a series of rats through the equivalent of hell by systematically depriving them of sleep. Within days, the rats began to eat significantly more than usual, perhaps as a way to get more energy to compensate for their lack of sleep. In less than a week, the rats lost control of their body temperature, began losing their hair, and developed lesions on their bodies that wouldn’t heal. Within seventeen to twenty days, they we dead.”
You and I can’t change the effect of our natural circadian rhythms, only work with or against them. This requires maintaining a pattern of sleep consistent with elevated levels of melatonin in our blood stream that surges between 11 pm and 3 am and choosing to work in intense intervals throughout the day that include periods of renewal, such as meditation. The “rat race” alternative is not productive nor sustainable!
Lovin’ this book…
Tis the season for gifts. Hard not to contemplate the many gifts I’ve been given in 2010, including my association with you! In this time of economic uncertainty and hardship, we are able to regain a sense of perspective and peace by taking inventory of everything that is right. Please, indulge me:
- Principles of effectiveness. No matter how bad things get, there’s always a way out. And the principles we ‘preach’ to ourselves and colleagues are the very ticket out of this funk that society and its economy finds themselves in. Among them are hard work, respect, honesty, teamwork, planning, prioritizing, and many others.
- Health. Few people claim their health is exactly where they want it. I’m certainly not a model of musculature, but I can’t complain. I’ve been motivated by many of you to realize goals of fitness this year that I never would have considered without your encouragement and example. In spite of a congenital aortic valve disorder, my heart is healthier than it’s ever been – in my entire lifetime. I plan to keep it that way as long as possible.
- Experience. The stories we weave into the fabric of our lives comes from the interplay of people, places, and lessons-learned. I’m grateful for the lessons this past year have taught me and the things I’m going to do with my ever-increasing perspective and life’s experience.
- Friends and Family. We are indeed rich, when we count the relationships that are most meaningful. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do what I do without the support of a patient and intensely hard-working wife, four fantastic children and all the extended family and friends who continue to make the journey purpose-filled.
In the coming year, the least I can do is combine these gifts of mine to ensure I leave you a gift every time we meet. A kind word. A helping hand. An ear to bend. A perspective or thought to share. A thank you to impart.
I wish you and yours a joyous Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year!
It’s always good to check in from time to time and see how well you’re living The 7 Habits. Plus, I just discovered this nifty little self assessment that anyone can take! It’s a PDF document. Feel free to share it with friends, family, and colleagues. Then, dig back into Dr. Covey’s book (now in its 21st year!) to find out what tips might help you boost your scores. Or, better yet, find an opportunity to participate in The 7 Habits Signature two- or three-day course.
Be Proactive and Sharpen the Saw were my high scores. Seek First to Understand and Synergize were weak points.
Next, I’m going to ask others to rate me on a separate copy of the assessment. It will be interesting to see how their perspective matches or differs from mine.
Take the assessment and then come back and tell me what you learned!