The Possibilities of Leadership
As we have acknowledged since the start of this weekly newsletter, our leadership growth is represented in unique stories, in journeys we cannot predict.
However, if we are indeed interested in becoming excellent leaders, we must pause at the start of those journeys and consider our possibilities. In fact, it sometimes behooves us to pause mid-career and assess where we are on our leadership paths and where we wish to go.
I have been thinking about possibilities this week because several days ago our older son and his wife welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world. This is our first grandchild and, as you can imagine, we are thrilled and excited to be entering this stage of our lives.
As I lay in bed the past several nights waiting for sleep to arrive, I thought about the possibilities that lie ahead for this new baby. Her entire life is ahead of her. What will her personality be like? What hobbies will she develop? What kind of people will she be drawn to? What academic pursuits will she pursue? What career path will she follow? So many possibilities.
The same kind of questions apply to our leadership journeys.
What kind of leader do we want to be?
What do we wish to be known for?
What kind of accomplishments do we wish to pursue?
What issues do we want to focus on?
What impact do we choose to have on other people – teammates, colleagues, mentees?
How can we best assess our leadership possibilities, regardless of our current leadership path?
How can we best maximize those possibilities?
How can we measure our fulfillment of our possibilities?
I think that at some level of knowledge we know the answers to these questions. But just to make sure we are on the same wave length, let’s review some of our options:
We can identify mentors who will help guide us on our leadership paths
We can check in with colleagues for regular assessments on our leadership skills
We can seek suggestions from managers about the “best” practical leadership books
We can subscribe to recognized leadership publications like The Harvard Business Review
We can enroll in leadership training programs with so many excellent programs now available on-line
We can continue relationships with managers from past jobs, reaching back out to them periodically for support or advice
We can ask our current manager to conduct a 360 review, gathering data from a variety of invested stakeholders
We can subscribe to leadership podcasts conducted by some of the most esteemed leadership thought leaders in the country
We can join online leadership communities organized by authors like Brene Brown or Marshall Goldsmith
We can organize our own leadership discussion group at work or on-line
Whatever strategies you choose to pursue your leadership possibilities, I encourage you to be intentional about it.
Do not drift down your leadership path, from one job to the next, from one organization to another, from one promotion to another.
Create leadership goals for yourself. Think about your possibilities. Balance those possibilities.
Develop strategies to enhance your possibilities.
As Stephen Covey articulated with his first of “Seven Habits,” be proactive! Be brave. Be self-aware. Embrace your possibilities, just as I hope my granddaughter embraces hers.