As our organizations grow, our leadership must grow in tandem. But it is so easy to miss the signs indicating it’s time to evolve our leadership.
These signs include:
- Stagnant results,
- Lots of imploring and activity without much change,
- More frequent, painful losses of good people,
- Feeling unsure or out of control, and/or
- The people in our organization telling us that we have to change.
Notice that most of these signs appear in the organization. We may be tempted to affix blame to it or the people in it.
But we are (usually a large part of) the problem. We all are subject to the success trap: using what got us here yesterday to win again today. The ways of leading that had worked so well have stopped working and now continue to harm the organization. When we see some of those signs, it’s time to acknowledge we’re trapped.
The success trap can be hard to avoid but it is simple to escape: we reset our understanding of our value as leaders. Often we think we are valued for assessing, making decisions, directing, approving stuff, or getting things done. But usually the organization needs us to focus on cultivating and making real the vision, engaging the best people, and ensuring we have the systems to support everyone else doing the assessing, deciding, directing, approving, and doing.
As a first leadership-evolution step, try asking everyone this question: “In an ideal world, how will you know–what results will you see to tell you–that I have done my job well this year?”
In your corner,