By Gary M. Jordan, Ph. D.
Developing your leadership capacity requires that you take a step beyond your own talents and begin to not only understand but value and support the talents of those around you. It means that you have to step beyond your own natural desire to be seen, understood, and appreciated and become the one that does the “seeing” the “understanding”, and the “appreciating”.
We often think of leaders as those who stand boldly in the front, clearly pointing in a new direction, and inspiring us to follow them down a golden path. To be sure, this does describe leadership; it’s just not the only kind. There are times when leadership can be somewhat invisible to others, just because it is quiet and influential. Leadership can feel a bit thankless at times, but that doesn’t make it any less important – quite the opposite! Those moments when you step into your leadership strengths and make something happen are special whether or not you receive public accolades.
Case in point – a client recently shared an event in which she discovered leadership within her.
Susan and I have been working together for about 6 months. During that time she’s made great strides towards consciously using more of her natural skills. She has successfully redefined her work so that even though she is doing the same job, she is now able to focus her time and efforts on doing what she does best.
The result is that she has more enthusiasm for her work, is more engaged and present in what she does, and is beginning to enjoy what she does for the first time in a long time.
A huge benefit for her is that the changes that have occurred in her “attitude” and behavior have been recognized at work and she has been rewarded with greater responsibility, a pay increase, and involvement in higher levels of management within the company.
As part of her new responsibilities she is on a committee of four who are tasked with coordinating the activities of an important project. Each of the committee members represents an area important to the successful completion of the project.
In a recent meeting she watched an alliance form between two of the other members, one of whom she had been having some difficulty connecting with. As the other two chatted away about a topic that she had tried to discuss earlier, she was at first hurt and finally angry.
“Not only did they not seek my input, but they purposefully excluded me from the conversation. It really hurt!” she said. ”My initial reaction was to ‘take my things and go home’. But I knew the project was too important for me to act that way.”
Susan realized that she had to step beyond what she wanted and what was comfortable for her and think about the project and what she needed to do to bring the committee of four closer together.
In taking the welfare of the committee as a whole and the importance of the project into account, placing both above her own immediate needs and interests, and acting in such a way to increase the effectiveness of all four committee members, Susan discovered her innate leadership capacity.
She had to put taking action from her own natural strengths and doing what she did best on hold to allow the other three members to do what they do best. The project is not finished, but it is moving along nicely. Only one of the other committee members knows what Susan put aside to ensure the committee’s success. But Susan’s personal feeling of accomplishment means a lot.
As I said, leadership isn’t always about public accolades, but it is about personal accomplishment and satisfaction. If you are interested in discovering your own innate leadership skills go to www.YourTalentAdvantage.com to learn more.