Over the past five years, Ian McFarlane has shared his insight through this publication, given the frame of executive coaching. I hope that we will continue to gain shared insight through this column as we re-establish its focus on organizational leadership.
The perspective and the practices I share through my consulting practice, teaching and e-newsletter come from years of experience and progressive client organizations. While the perspectives have been refined over the years, I owe a debt of gratitude to many mentors, executives and leaders who have shared their counsel along the way.
Together with the editor of this publication, I will strive to create shared insight for all organizational leaders: business owners and department managers, for-profit corporations and non-profit organizations, current managers and aspiring leaders. To lead from where we are today – there is no time like the present.
I hope to illustrate our points through a variety of formats: sharing perspectives, practice examples and interviews with peers who have learned lessons ahead of the rest of us. Let’s begin to peel away the reality and understand the benefit of organizational leadership from the very beginning.
First, understand that management and leadership are both critical to your success. Leadership is not the evolution of management; an afterthought of the former. Look to those who you have chosen to follow and emulate in your professional practice. They have made the call or shouted the order without hesitation. They have been decisive as needed, but inclusive and open to other ideas as well. As the president often reminds us, we are living through a time and period that we have never experienced before. We manage our work to gain efficiency, but lead and engage others towards a preferred future.
Next, we need leaders who are confident enough to unleash the potential of other leaders. Once again, if we only manage what we know and see, we only create followers. While we need some of this, we need to unleash the potential of others around us. I was talking with a business owner over the past several weeks who illustrated this point better than I can. He indicated how easy it was for him to make all types of decisions while growing his company through the earliest phases of its lifecycle; but from where he was sitting today, he could no longer turn the dials or move the levers as easily to get the results he now anticipated. He needed others around him. He wanted to shape the next level of managers around him so that the vision was shared and they could help him implement the growth plan they envisioned. We get to a point where we realize we can’t do it all on our own.
Finally, we need to move beyond developing leaders, to creating organizational leadership. This is not a simple play on words. We need to move beyond the development and reward of individual leaders, to the creation of organizational leadership. This type of leadership is bigger than any of us. It is something that lives beyond our retirement or tenure. It becomes the very fabric and culture of the organization, and one that continues to respond to the changing needs of our customer base. Good leaders, Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood emphasize, come and go, but the organization’s leadership must deliver results over the long haul.
So, where are you in your leadership journey? Do you see the value of management and leadership? Are you identifying, developing and unleashing leaders around you? Are you helping to develop leaders discover their natural talents, as well as creating the capacity for organizational legacy and leadership?
We have so much more to discuss. I’ll see you next month.