Here at PSG, we have had a great year! And are very thankful for our clients and candidates! It has been an honor to work with you!
Jane and I are also very fortunate to work with great staff. Everyday we have the pleasure to watch our team mature into leaders in this business and this industry. As I help “hold down the fort” today, the day after Christmas, I wanted to think about Leadership in the year 2013. I looked to John Baldoni, Contributor for Forbes. John often writes about the impact leaders have on those they lead. He wrote this article a few hours ago:
What’s one area in which you think leaders need to improve?
That’s a question I hear a lot lately, chiefly because I am giving interviews related to the launch of my newest book, The Leader’s Pocket Guide. It focuses on a leader’s relationship to self, team and the organization. My reply stems from the first part of the book: take better care of yourself!
My reason is simple: if you don’t take care of you, then how can you take care of your team or organization? The answer is not simply about health and fitness, though that is part of the equation. It is more about taking time to know yourself.
I have had the privilege of working with some exceptional women and men as an executive coach and to a person one aspect of their leadership they have shorted is their own development. No, I am not referring to education or job rotation, but rather taking time to explore what they want to achieve as leaders and how they want to lead others more effectively.
The reason for this oversight is because as good leaders they are directed more toward others than themselves; they are looking out for the interests of the group as well as the organization. They are more concerned about getting things done right and ensuring that others follow through accordingly they do not have time for themselves.
Again and again in coaching sessions I hear executives tell me that they simply have not thought about themselves, and as a result have not taken the time to reflect on where they are now and where they want to go next. They know where they want to take their team, but perhaps not themselves.
While I would not call this a problem, it can be an issue if they are feeling less than satisfied in their jobs. This may be the result of any number of different factors, including not feeling they are right for the job, or enjoy it like they used to. Or they simply are pushing forward without taking time to think about anything but the work at hand.
The reason leaders need to focus more – at times – on themselves is that only through self-awareness will they unlock their own potential but more importantly use that self-knowledge to surround themselves with the right people, those who complement their strengths as well as their shortcomings.
Part of self-knowledge stems from taking stock of the situation now and what you want to accomplish near and short term. Here are some questions to get you started.
What do you do well? This question will get you to explore your competencies, chiefly what has enabled you to succeed. It is a combination of talent and skills, and likely the ability to work well with others.
What do you need to do better? None of us is perfect. The easy answer may to acquire a new skill, but for leaders the answer is less about what you will do but more about you will enable others to do it. That is, you may need to become a better delegator as well as a stronger advocate for your team and the resources they may need.
What is holding you back from making changes necessary to improve? Consider this the no-excuses questions. Answering that you don’t have time is not a good reply. Leaders need to make time for what is important and shunt aside non-value add tasks.
As with many self-questions, they are easy to formulate but not so easy to answer. Very often the answers will affirm the direction that you are headed but at times they will prompt you to do a course correction, that is, adopt a new way of maximizing the talents and resources around you.
As noted above, this may mean doing less yourself and delegating more. This is not a recipe for slacking; it is a prescription for making more time to ask big questions, acting more strategically, and undertaking problems and challenges that only the leader of the organization can handle.
Focusing more on yourself in the quest for self-knowledge is not easy, but most leaders can take comfort in the words of the great Dr. Benjamin Spock, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”