Saturday, April 21, 2012

Executive Ego: Is It Standing In Your Way?

To lead is to serve; otherwise, why bother? 

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor . . . A friend of mine characterized leaders simply like this: 'Leaders don't inflict pain; they bear pain.'" Max De Pree

Sometimes we get to the corner office by stepping on toes. Most times, not. When we do get there by less that honorable or cooperative means, we usually lose the respect of our colleagues. And rightly so. There is a much better way.

  •       Get a grasp on how your relationships with those in your organization affect both your own and the company’s success.
  •       Meet informally with your colleagues more often.
  •       Let it be known that you can be contacted for advice and, more important, support.
  •       Develop a strong relationship with one major member of each area or department that comes under your leadership.
  •       Focus more on your people rather than on tasks.
  •       Forge connections with key people outside your organization but within your industry.
  •       Participate in community activities and events to connect with other leaders; build important alliances.
Servant leadership is not just a nice idea; it is the only way to create the kind of organization that can be successful in the 21st century. And it will always be the best policy to make the best connections with those in your charge.

"Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they concentrate on the constituent. . . Leaders serve a purpose and the people who have made it possible for them to lead . . . . In serving a purpose, leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart. Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks."

James Kouzes and Barry Posner 
Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.