This is a follow-on post to our recent newsletter article.
Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with lots of great leaders who "get it." These men and women commit themselves fully to their companies and the people with whom they work to make the companies great.
Here's one quick example of a leader who learned to look ahead instead of in front of him.
This particular CEO was a fairly young technical whiz who found himself responsible for an 80-person, growing company. We connected after a speech I gave which talked to the way high-tech companies tend to breed micromanagement. After all, the leaders got where they are in the company through technical excellence of some kind (since that's what tends to get promoted) - so that those same leaders, in times of crisis, tend to lean on that technical expertise instead of their people.
I was cleaning up my laptop and other presentation materials when this fellow tapped me on the shoulder and confided that he was one of those leaders.
"Doctor, do you think there's any hope?" he said, half-jokingly.
"I don't know right now, but I can tell you after the first office visit," I joked back.
We worked together for 3 years, during which time he grew both his company and his confidence in setting the company up for long term success. By working with his natural strengths, he was able to get people to step up, and be responsible for, the results for individual projects and initiatives.
Yet the biggest breakthrough came when he realized that he couldn't delegate the responsibility to set the company's direction. After a significant success with a major customer, there was some question about where the company needed to go next. He asked for all the inputs possible, but there still wasn't enough information for a clear solution.
As he and I were working through this challenge, he suddenly looked at me and said, "I've got to make a decision here, don't I?" And I replied with, "That's why you get the big bucks."
"Getting it" can be a tough situation, and a leader can feel pretty isolated - yet working through it can pay off significantly for both the organization and the leader who keeps his/her head up and eyes forward.