Of course, a leader needs to have expertise in the sector in which they are working, as well as possess skills and knowledge in some particular area: finance, engineering, program management, technology and so on.
But leading a company or a team takes additional skills and literacies. The predominant school of thought about developing leadership is that leaders should be focusing on developing their inner core and centers, honing their interpersonal skills and growing as individuals so that they can better manage people. The idea is that they need to transform personally to be great leaders.
I’ve come to think that when we place our attention on developing leadership through personal transformation, we are missing something. That seems a luxury that not many leaders or organizations or communities can wait around for. We all would like to evolve and grow but personal transformation is not a one-day event.
But what if we grow ourselves most effectively by taking our focus off our own development and placing it on others?
What if we spend the time focusing on the space between us, on how we work with others, on how we tap the best ideas of others, how we frame our conversations, and how we elicit the strengths of others?
What if we spend our time stalking solutions in the full company of others, if we engage ourselves in traversing and getting to know that space ‘between’, leaning in to the strengths of those around us?
What if we stop worrying about our personal meditation practices [even though I strongly recommend them] and instead, start worrying about whether or not the teams that report to us have the room to do their jobs well, whether they have dialogic forms and forums that help them think well together in exploring ideas that directly impact the mission?
What if we worry about the usefulness of the decision-making patterns and processes in our hierarchies?
What if we worry about how our organizational systems and processes are making whole-hearted engagement and excitement possible?
As we do this, WE INDIVIDUALLY will develop relationally and personally. We will reframe our ideas about leadership, and our ability to effectively lead will indeed transform.
More on reframing leadership coming up.