This is the first part of a two-part series. Next time: how to find leaders worth following.
It’s a simple question, but perhaps not an easy answer – what are the signs of a leader, as opposed to just a “boss”? Are you just someone people report to? It’s different to head up a team on an organisational chart, to put in performance reviews and assign work to people. Yes, you’re the boss.
At one point in the Disney animated film Peter Pan the Lost Boys sing:
Following the leader, the leader, the leader. We’re following the leader wherever he may go. Tee dum, tee dee, A teedle ee do tee day, Tee dum, tee dee. It’s part of the game we play.
Did you ever wonder if there are rules for following the leader? In the game of business is there opportunity for a differentiated playbook when you are follower? Or, should you just ‘keep your head down and do as you are told?’
I was curious about this so I
You’ve been promoted at work. Hip, Hip, Hooray! And don’t forget the champagne! But do you know how to survive your promotion?
I’ve spent years assessing leaders for promotion. Over this time I have been able to follow many of these executives and see how things played out. I’ve come to the conclusion that achieving a promotion, being successful in the new role and surviving your promotion are entirely different matters. Here are a few things I have learned from observing these leaders.
First of all, what is my definition of survival? For the purpose of this article, my definition for survival
About 18 months ago I was feeling pretty good. My team at work was doing well and creating massive impact. We enjoyed the respect of both the business leaders and our peers in HR. Business schools and professional groups were seeking our input for lectures, case studies and guidance. I had more opportunities to co-author books, lecture and research than I had time for…and the headhunters kept calling. Not only were they calling me…but everyone on our team. Like sirens of the lake, each call promised the riches of fame and fortune.
It couldn’t get any better. As they say down
You’ve gotten this far in your career without having to ‘tweet,’ ‘post’ or ‘like’. Why bother? It’s just a fad and things will soon change again. Won’t they? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Unfortunately, I know many senior leaders and ‘rising stars’ that think like this.
Richard Nixon failed to recognize the power that the new medium of television could have and it played a significant factor in losing his first bid for the White House. Could you be making the same mistake? In the early 1990s thousands of high performing and ‘high potential’ business, scientific and engineering leaders found their
Have you forgotten your ‘why?’ Have you lost the plot?
All too often management consultants and HR professionals get so caught up in the day-to-day delivery that it’s easy to lose sight about what’s really important. We know that ‘strategy’ is important but it’s as if the tactical ‘getting stuff done’ becomes so overwhelming that we miss the real reason we are there in the first place. Sometimes, the strategy and tactics will diverge so completely that it’s impossible to reconcile them in any reasonable manner.
There are no universal laws of business, management or leadership that work everywhere around the world
I could hear it in their voices as they described their work and personal lives.
I could see it on their resume in their list of education and experiences.
They had “arrived!” They had reached a pinnacle in their career … but their story didn’t have a happy ending.
Earlier in my career I was, for lack of a better term, a “hired gun.” A management consultant conducting leadership assessments for companies being sold, bought or undergoing large-scale transformation. I travelled the globe writing leadership profiles on senior executive talent across a variety of industries.
After conducting hundreds of these I began to notice