A follower makes a leader. The relationship between leader and followers (i.e., the way the connection between leader and follower works, not just the state of being leader and follower) has changed. Leaders used to command-and-control workers, who were seen to be basically lazy, having to be told exactly what to do, and motivated only by security and money. Leaders had top-down authority and a tight rein on workers who could not be trusted to do good work without control.
A more democratic model eventually emerged. Workers were seen as responsible and motivated to do a good job, even without tight controls, punishment, and reward. This led to a less rigid leader-follower relationship, one more focused on creating happier, productive workers. The tools for doing that, however, have not been clear.
An up-and-coming executive engages with an important sales prospect, client, supplier, partner, or colleague on par with his or her degree of comfort and security with the other party. The more seniority the other is perceived to have relative to his/her own, the more anxiety and insecurity is induced, the less is said, and the fewer impact results from the interaction. Pushing to the highest possible level of engagement drives the best results and accelerates career progression.
It makes sense for the up-and-coming executive to think of it as climbing a staircase.
We wrote a post about how to make a graceful exit (especially when it’s involuntary) that explored what steps to take when leaving your position. This post is the follow-up that dives into how to identify, assess, and consolidate lessons learned to find the right next job. We’ll explore three key steps to a successful transition plan for CEOs.
Every organization has, or needs, a leader. And it is true that the power of one committed, clear person can make all the difference in the world. But no one individual, even the greatest leader, does anything of much significance alone.
The best leaders know that it is not all about them. It is about their team. Consequently, one of a CEO’s most important jobs (see highlighted text at left) is to ensure that every team member knows what the leader and team expects from her/him to achieve planned results.
How to Empower Executive Teams
A good way for executives to know what team members need from them is to ask each to share views on their own, and on each others’, individual strengths, contributions, growth, and opportunities for development. Continue reading CEO Role→