I have been reading a wide range of articles and books lately on the roles and responsibilities of leaders and how that affects results, and it has me thinking.
Dan Ebener has a book called Blessings for Leaders where he takes the Beatitudes and applies them to characteristics and practices for being effective leaders. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the earth,” etc…
He equates “Poor in Spirit” with humility. Those leaders who are servant leaders will succeed. He suggests a leadership style to be adopted that has a goal to create followers. At the Marines boot camp, the last ones to eat in the mess hall are the Officers. Servant Leaders are focused on nurturing their followers so that they are able to become leaders.
If the first goal of Servant Leaders is to create followers, then the second goal is to create leaders.
A recent review and update of a ten-year-old study by consulting firm McKinsey & Company on the priorities of training programs indicates that the most successful firms have robust programs that are measured, purpose-driven and increasingly focused on empowering frontline employees to succeed.
Empowerment creates engagement, and engagement – at least in a corporate setting – creates followers. Employee engagement is generally perceived as great for the organization. What gets lost in the mix at times, is how liberating it is for the management team to have a more engaged and capable team they can delegate increasingly important tasks to and thereby free themselves up for their own highest-value work.
In his book, Building a Project-Driven Enterprise, Ronald Mascitelli questions that if the primary purpose of an organization is to plan and implement projects, then shouldn’t the organization be organized to optimize the results of those projects? Further, if employees are organized so their roles are directly related to how the organization perceives success, the employees will see their roles more clearly and understand how they affect overall success.
Toyota’s legendary manufacturing culture empowers any employee on the production line to stop production if they see something wrong. If an employee in your organization stopped the work on a project because something was wrong, what would be the response? Of course, an assembly line is a different model than a service business, but engagement and empowerment make a big difference.
Overall, one of our focuses this year is to grow our team to create empowered followers and develop them into leaders. It is absolutely necessary for growth.
Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.
2015 is about ambition. And ambition takes focus and focus takes discipline and discipline means discomfort. Have an uncomfortable year, all.