A Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Yourself the Rarest of All Leaders
Take a minute to think about your leadership role. Write a statement that describes the contribution you want to make. Don’t just describe what you do now, write down what you want to do in your leadership role. In this way you’ll tap into your own passion, discovering what really motivates you and how you can create a better world around you.
W.H. Murray, organizer of the 1951 Scottish Himalayan expedition, wrote: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
It is amazing what happens when you pause from the “busyness” for a moment, reach inside and find your purpose and make a commitment to your role statement. When your purpose is combined with determined action, you create a sense of momentum that is hard to stop. This is what it means to live by design rather than by default. When people know the vision for success in their roles, it accelerates high value decision management and focused attention
You can help others discover their contribution by being the rare leader who asks these types of questions:
- Imagine meeting yourself when you leave your current role, whether it’s weeks, months, or years from now.
- Who are you?
- What contributions have you made? How do you know?
- Have you made a real difference to the organization? To the people we serve?
- How would you define and measure that difference?
- Have you brought your best talents, gifts, and creativity to the role? In what ways?
- Have you felt yourself stretching, growing, learning? How have you grown? What is the most important thing you’ve learned?
As people contemplate these questions, they go deep into themselves. They tap into what invigorates them and what is the root of their passion. Simply put, they engage. If you challenge your people in this way, you will be the rarest of leaders—the one who knows how to release the tremendous inner power of your people.
And you will be rare.
“Despite the dramatic changes in the way people work, the organizations in which they carry out that work have changed much less than might be expected. . . Today’s [large organizations] do very little to enhance the productivity of their professionals.” – McKinsey & Company
In other words, twenty-first-century organizations are not fit for twenty-first-century workers.
Be the rare leader who turns this situation around: Contemplate the energy, vitality, and optimism of people who are deeply engaged, particularly in this era when our technology leaves us breathless.
We are at the edge of the greatest of times.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.