Hard wired into the nature of most leaders is the desire to be in the action. Its makes sense because most leaders are developed and raised up in the middle of the action. The best sales associate gets tapped to be a manager. The highly involved committee member is invited to become the chair-person. The stellar greeter becomes the leader of a team of greeters. Leaders are born, cultivated and come to life in the middle of work which energizes them.
Perhaps this is why one of the most common conversations I have with new leaders is around what they need to stop doing. You see a leader is a part of the team, but has a different function that the people they lead. There are a number of ways to have this conversation – I think my favorite comes from my friend Jimmy who delivers it this way: “Don’t abandon your post!”
The most fun position for each of us is often in the middle of the activity. Our love for what we do often fuels our promotion to leadership roles. When you say yes to leadership you are agreeing to serve a specific function for the teams we lead. The most important place for a leader to position themselves is in that spot where they alone can best serve the people and the mission.
Sometimes that means you aren’t the one running to grab more supplies – you are sending someone to go do that. It might mean that someone you lead gets to have that meaningful conversation, or complete that sale – while you sit in the background.
It is the nature of a leader to run towards the first fire they see…whether that fire is a problem or an opportunity. However when a leader abandon’s their post to run towards a fire they aren’t prepared to see the next fire that pops up.
For the areas where you lead ask yourself:
- What are the things that only I can do for my team?
- What do I need to stop doing?
- What do I need to begin empowering others to do on my team?