The saddest thing about today’s corporate world is the internal politics, that some people are willing to play in order to get ahead. Instead of pulling others up, many managers choose to push people down. Your most valuable asset is your people. And how you treat them, is literally the difference between success and failure. Micromanaging, blaming and holding people back, will only lead to a culture of distrust with high turnover, low morale and reduced creativity.
The corporate world is littered with managers but lack leaders. Over the course of may career, I only had one manager who was a leader. He made such an impact and influenced my leadership style. It is a rare individual who excels in both managing and leading. Great leaders don’t surround themselves with “yes employees” or need their ego to be constantly stroked. They consistently seek opportunities to inspire and motivate others. They invest in people. Such managers push employees to grow and develop in order to reach their full potential.
“The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet.”
Developing leadership skills is a lifetime project. It’s too easy, as a manager, to feel like you have to be the one who knows everything. Great leaders recognize that they need to keep learning. You are only strong as your weakest link. Build a strong team and surround yourself with smart, passionate and highly competent people. The greater your success, the more you need to stay in touch with fresh and diverse opinions and perspectives, and welcome honest feedback. Companies such as Blackberry, Kodak and Nokia did not heed this advice and they engaged in group think, which ultimately led to their demise.
James Collins and a research team conducted a five year historical analysis of companies that over time had made a sustained transition from good to great. Succession planning was a problem. Collins writes, “In over three quarters of the comparison companies, we found executives who set their successors up for failure or chose weak successors, or both.”
Leaders who cultivate other leaders multiply their own success. Some managers think that developing potential leaders could threaten their authority or position. But failing to optimize the talent of others is setting yourself, and the company up for failure. It’s not about you. The ego must go. It’s about identifying and appreciating the differences each team member brings to the table, and putting it to full use. Your success is a result of your team. Play to your team’s strengths and everyone wins!