Monday, March 5, 2012

When Leaders Lead...

When Leaders Lead…


If we have a job, unless we work for ourselves, by default…we have a boss or a leader, and sometimes we have multiple.  For some of us leadership goes both ways…because not only are we led by our boss, we also lead others – our own teams, our own processes, and our own business units or organizations.

As leaders, if we’re doing it right, we’re always looking for ways to become more knowledgeable, more efficient, more profitable, and more impactful.  We’re always learning.

“…the moment you stop learning, you stop leading…” – Rick Warren

Occasionally we have a moment, a day, a week when that spark we’ve been waiting for lights a fire inside of us…when we all of a sudden go from worried to optimistic…when we go from frustrated to content…when we go from upset to happy…

Those moments happen when leaders LEAD

Leadership has so many facets, dynamics, do’s, don’ts, challenges, and rewards.  From my experience great things happen and people really begin to feel it…feel the magicwhen leaders:


They’re always busy, preoccupied, and have “everything else” on their mind…but when they stop, put down the smart phone, look away from their own computer monitor, and listen to us…we feel appreciated, valued, and important. 

We go from feeling like a cog in a factory to feeling like we may actually matter to our organization after all.  We feel better about ourselves and our jobs…in fact, our “job” quickly becomes meaningful work, when leaders listen.


We’re supposed to already know things.  We’re supposed to already have an in depth understanding, a holistic view, and a fundamental comprehension of every element of our job.  We’re supposed to…” 

Sometimes we don’t.   

Sometimes we forget.  Sometimes we just don’t understand.  When we don’t fully understand, and our leader gets out the dry erase marker, stands up, and starts X’n & O’n on the whiteboard…educating us, teaching us, and meeting us where we are, we begin to feel like we’re getting somewhere.  We feel like we CAN do vs. feeling like we CAN’T possibly do it…when leaders educate, we learn the who’s, what’s, when’s, how’s, and why’s…work means something and it becomes a more fulfilling experience all around when leaders educate.


We often look up to our leaders, our bosses, and those in the captain’s seat because they have to make the tough decisions.  They have to deal with the cumbersome dynamics that we don’t have to deal with ourselves.  While it’s often not “our job” to deal with cumbersome dynamics like performance issues among our peer group, processes or overarching technology breakdowns or hold ups, or the high level strategy of our organization, we certainly can be left to deal with these things, nonetheless. 

However, occasionally our leaders get in the mix…they get in the middle of these cumbersome dynamics, and they act.  When our leaders take action, especially on our behalf, clearing the path for us…making it easier for us to navigate our day-to-day routines at work, we feel supported.  We not only feel supported, we feel reassured that we’re not alone…someone cares, our leader cares…we feel like we’re moving the needle, making progress, and making a difference when our leaders act.


We work, work, work, and work…and it’s often a perpetual reprioritization of deliverables and initiatives put directly on our plate.  Our bosses, their bosses, our customers, our Guests, our students, our friends, and our families all ask for help, assistance, results, and/or work to be done. 

On occasion, our leaders come through for us.  They deliver that email we’ve been waiting for to approve something.  They deliver that coaching or discipline we’ve all known needed to be taken care of for weeks.  They deliver on their promises to us, making us feel valued.  Sometimes they deliver an unexpected thank you, recognizing us.  Other times they deliver the tools and/or resources we’ve asked them to provide for us, so that we can become more efficient.  We feel like worthy, valuable assets to our organizations when leaders deliver for us. 

They’re watching us…they’re listening to us.  They’re watching what we say and what we don’t say.  They’re watching to whom and how we say it.  They’re watching…they’re waiting…they’re waiting for us to lead.

Go OneMoreStep this week…and remember that people on our teams appreciate it, and great things begin to happen when leaders LEAD.

As leaders, we have a million things to do and so much on our minds.  With all our ToDo’s…we can’t forget to do the most important things that leaders can do…LEAD.


Have a great day.


One for the road...

Not a "real leader" yet?  Haven't received that promotion?  Don't wait for the invitation...don't wait for the official title.  

Anyone, anywhere can LEAD.   In the book,  "You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader", author Mark Sanborn says, "you must first be an example before you can lead others."  

So if better leadership is what we want from those in our organizations, and if we all agree that the world needs more great leaders and Freds...the best and quickest way for each of us to make an impact is to:  LEAD and be FREDs matter what our official role or title...

1 comment:

  1. T,
    Love the post! I always say that you can learn from non leading as well. If you know what a leader is supposed to do, of how they are supposed to make you feel, then you are learning what not to do when you become a leader. But becoming the go-to guy or gal in your current role is the most sure way of getting the big promotion.