Influence Trumps Direction
For leaders, coming to grips with the importance others play in their success requires reflection and experience. Early in their careers, leaders rise on teams and organizations for getting things done and performing at a higher level. Rewarding personal achievement with an opportunity to lead is common in nearly every organization. When those same leaders learn that the job of leadership is to get things done through others, they often struggle by focusing on their own work and results. The “player-coach” is often heavy on the player and light on the coach.
Those who settle in and become good leaders begin to see themselves in a different light. They start to see leadership as having more to do with influence than direction. Leaders who invest in others, inspire them, and work alongside those they lead are not just popular, they are respected. When respect for a leader is genuine and deep, people want leaders to succeed. They will do their part to propel the leader forward. Understanding that we need others is the first step, but the leap forward is to galvanize others through our actions. Magic happens when earned respect is a two-way street.
When this idea finally dawns on a quality leader, they begin to understand more clearly what Tramell Crow, the real estate magnate, meant when he said: “We succeed when everyone around us wants us to succeed and not a moment before.”