I love to connect with managers and leaders to find out what drives them every day. Why do they want to lead? Maybe they recently got promoted to a leadership role or worked their way up in their company? Or maybe unforeseen circumstances created a new adventure in their journey.
Jennifer and I connected couple of weeks back and she works in the hospitality industry just like myself. We had a great conversation. She shares the same passion and rigor about service and leadership. She moved up the ranks in her company but was having some challenges in her new role as a leader of a customer service in her company.
She needed some insights on how to move from leading herself to leading others. This happens quite often to new leaders when they move from growing their personal leadership to growing others in the process. It reminded me of a quote by Jack Welch who said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
That conversation made me think about some questions new managers and leaders can ask themselves in the process of embarking on their leadership journey.
So let’s take a look on each idea more in details-You will notice that none of these questions are about title or position in the company. Which means you can lead from where you are right now! You don’t need a title to be a leader.
What can I contribute to my organization and my team?
Peter Drucker taught us that contribution is the first task of effective leaders:
”The effective executive focuses on contribution. He looks up from his or her work and outward toward goals. He asks, what can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and results of the organization I serve?”
Most managers tend to focus inward. They are looking into how they can succeed and advance through their own personal work without realizing that in the long run, the success of your team are the best indication of effective leadership.
How can I add value?
Leadership expert John C Maxwell indicated that, “First and foremost, leadership is about adding value to people.” If you want to be an effective leader, you need to add, give and help people to be the best they can be. There are many ways to add value to people, but the very first thing is to value the people around you. Put an invisible sign on their head of a 10! And you will begin to see people differently. You begin to see that people have the potential to succeed.
How can I grow as a leader?
Growth is not automatic, but many leaders have the illusion that experience is the best teacher. I remember when my career turned around. It was the day that made a decision to invest in personal growth. I realized that the proportion of my success will always be the result of what I can learn and contribute to my team. I noticed when I grow and develop, I can give more and serve the people around me.
Why do I want to be a leader?
The best leaders have a purpose. If you can’t be inspired and keep a positive attitude, people won’t join you for the ride. Great leaders know what they want and why they want to achieve it. The best leaders tap into their core values to reveal their true passion by relentlessly seeking a cause bigger than themselves.
Howard Schultz of Starbucks is a leader that’s connected to his big purpose: “A company can grow big without losing the passion and personality that built it, but only if it’s driven not by profits but by people . . . The key is heart. I pour my heart into every cup of coffee and so do my partners at Starbucks. When customers sense that, they respond in kind … If you pour your heart into your work, you can achieve dreams others may think impossible. That’s what makes life rewarding.”