I tell people all the time that if you love something enough, what you love will teach you everything you need to know to find a mastery and high skill in that area. In other words, the path begins at your feet and in your heart.
When I started running groups to help people develop their potential I had to learn to get out of the way. Everyone has potential and develops naturally. To support someone means that what I might think has to give way to the heartfelt growth and passion of the person I am working with. I need to learn to stand back and ultimately to marvel at the gifts that arise spontaneously in people. The biggest gift we can give someone is the blessing of the support and witnessing of their inner greatness. In other words, it is in believing in someone.
Being a Leader for Change
Over the years I have worked with numerous people. Recently I have noticed a growing number of people who are frustrated with their careers and the day to day of their work. They can't seem to get past the corporation. Is it a ceiling?
My take is that corporations have largely lost their way. There is no real leadership or vision. For the most part, managers are well-meaning at best. At worst managers want the position for the status. A leader is there to support people, to inspire and to bring out the best in people. Leadership is a people job.
For people who have a new vision, who really want to make a difference, and a desire to bring their skills to the table, find themselves frequently frustrated as they hit this cloud of missing leadership.
There are a few points I have noted I would like to share with you.
Trust and cooperation are not standard in our organizations and yet we know they should be
There are two things that I think that great leaders need to have, empathy and perspective. And I think these things are very often forgotten Leaders are so often so concerned about their status of their position in the organization they actually forget their real job and the real job of a leader is not about being in charge it's about taking care of those in our charge and I don't think people realize this. - Simon Sinek
I have identified some common problems people are having within organizations that are stuck in the past. I have said 'we' in the following writing because I think the problems in organizations are a collective problem and not specific. Many people identify with the frustration within the work world. If you are a budding leader you might be one of the people who have little if no mirroring for your ideals and goals. These are some of the issues I see.
- We are waiting for the leaders to lead - It is in our culture as a respect. We give respect because we want it. So we support the manager by giving them time and space. We tend to wait to be recognized or asked for our input. If we do approach our superiors with our ideas they frequently cannot hear what is being said and/or they do not really comprehend the vision you/we have. We are too deferential. We try to fit in. We try to be a part of the team. There is nothing worse standing in a line up that is not going anywhere and if we are waiting patiently for a manager who does not have an answer or vision, we might never go anywhere. We are too polite. Not saying we should be mean to anyone – but if we choose to be less as a method of supporting someone, this is not helping either.
Simon Sinek - Leaders Don't Even Know the Game
Youtube video of Simon Sinek at Live2Lead 2016
2. Your gifts go unrecognized and unseen. You have an uncommon perception and don't recognize your genius. I define genius as having a clarity around an idea and finding a way to express it simply, that people can hear and see what you are saying. So how do you get your idea out? You need to give expression to what you see and by doing so marks you as a genius. Genius is often overlooked because it is different. You do not recognize your genius because no one has pointed it out to you before. You feel frustrated, unheard, misunderstood and passed over. In today's world, there are many people like you who have profound gifts and these are gifts for a new world. No one has seen these gifts before and so managers don't know to direct you, to recognize you or even know what advantages your gifts bring. But you know.
No Corporate Will
3. Everyone talks change but nothing seems to go anywhere. There is no corporate will behind the values of your position. You come into a pre-existing environment or corporate culture and you are brought on board to bring change except no one seems to really be open to it. Everyone talks change but there is no corporate will. You seem to be on your own.
Actions that Empower
If you know you are a leader and have a passion for a better world then your career direction may not be like someone else's. It may not look traditional in any way. You may not be able to forge a career in traditional companies. Elon Musk, for instance, was turned away by many companies who couldn't see the value of online directories. The Story of Elon Musk's First Company
Where that leaves you is to be a challenger. If our culture has become lost and the leaders today are lacking a corporate will, a vision, and passion for a better world, then it is up to you to do the unexpected. Do that new project and present it. If they do not see value in it, then perhaps you are better joining with others and building a company that embodies the values and ethics you know should be there.
It is not about being right, but true. It is about embracing others and collectively coming up with solutions that work.
Perhaps you need to step up to a manager and say “Show me.” If they cannot or will not, then perhaps that company is not going to be a good fit. Perhaps that company is not one that is going to be a part of the future. If you are a part of that future, then you need to listen to that far-off distant drum and begin a band.
What I have said is quite simplified and there are many other mitigating circumstances that would make your situation somewhat different, but you know the saying – extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and it seems to me, we are in those times. Those of us with insight, with vision and clarity, need to step forward.
I want to tell you I believe in you. Find your way. Shine. People need you and what you have to share. Don't get lost in the fog of lackluster leadership. The world is waiting for you because it is your turn now.