Leadership just doesn’t happen….
Sustainable leadership is about more than just getting to the top. It requires ongoing care and attention to the needs of your organization and team. It begins with looking after you!
Now I don’t mean it’s all about you and you have to look our for number 1, rather I’m referring to the importance of looking after your health and learning as a leader. As. Dr. Henry Cloud asked, “How are you leading yourself?” (p. 198).
Why do I matter?
- As a leader, you are utilizing qualities, skills, talents and competencies that have helped you get where you are today. You are leading formally or informally because your leadership is making a difference to those around you.
As I was reading, Boundaries for Leaders, I was struck by Dr. Henry Cloud’s numerous reminders that,
“you always get what you create and what you allow” (p.xvi).
- Just step back for a moment and think about that….how often have you seen or heard of leaders frustrated with their teams or the results of their teams. If you are the one leading, you create the chaos and in turn the results. It’s important to step back and reflect on the impact your leadership is having on the team.
- Creating sustainable leadership means not only reflecting on where your team and organization are at, it means reflecting on how you are leading and what you need to keep growing. I’m the first to agree that this isn’t always easy or fun to own what you’ve created and as a teacher I’m reminded of a speaker I once heard. Tom Schimmer explained that we are all too willing as educators to take credit for the students who are doing well particularly, those that go on in life to reach significant achievements. We are the first to put up our hands and say we taught them. He reminded us all that to own the successes we must also reflect on our struggling students. In the end, we’ve taught all of them. You don’t get to pick and choose.
- So how do you continue to grow towards the leader that you want to be… a leader worth following?
The Law of Leadership:
“The higher you go in leadership, the fewer external forces act upon you and dictate your focus, energy and direction. Instead you set the terms of engagement and direct your own path, with only the reality of results to push against you”
(Dr. Henry Cloud, Boundaries for Leaders, 2013, p. 197)
Dr. Cloud explained that the higher up in leadership you go the less people are directing you. You create the boundaries. The problem, however, for many leaders is that they lead their organizations and teams but forget to ask how they are leading themselves (p.198). Do we start to be shaped by the circumstances and environment that we initially created? Do we forget to manage ourselves and in turn become more reactive and essentially forget to lead ourselves? It reminds me of a quotation by Jim Rohn, “Either you run the day or the day runs you” (Self Made Success).
Have you stopped to think about how your leadership has evolved? Are you still on the same path you want to be? Are you still leading in a way that helps you grow?
Check out part 2 for continuing ideas on sustainable leadership.