This guest post is by Kevin Eikenberry, author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and the chief potential officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. He is co-author of “From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership.”
Lately as I spend time with leaders in transition — especially those becoming leaders for the first time — I have become acutely aware that a major part of this transition is a transition of perspective. We see and experience different things and we have different expectations placed on us from every direction. While we may deal with those shifts relatively quickly, the five perspectives below don’t come automatically, and they don’t come in some sort of secret leadership rite-of-passage manual either.
- More future, less past. As a leader you are trying to move yourself, your team and your organization towards a desired future. Yes, we can learn from the past, but we can’t relive or wallow in it.
- More positive, less negative. Everyone believes that enthusiasm is contagious. Here are the twin truths that come from that fact: The opposite of enthusiasm is also contagious, and people tend to “catch” their attitude more easily from their leaders than most others. Unless you want your team working in a negative environment, you must lead from a positive perspective.
- More asking, less telling. When we become leaders, we sometimes think we are now supposed to have the answers. Yes, we may have some answers, but we will be more effective when we engage others and get their opinions. If you want to influence, if you want ownership, and if you want to develop others you must ask more than you tell. The leadership perspective of asking will serve you well at any level of leadership.
- More proactive, less passive. As an individual contributor we could, perhaps, wait for things to happen. As a leader we must be the ones to … lead. If we wait, who are we waiting for? This proactive perspective may be the one that helped you get promoted to leadership; this perspective is a hallmark of the action of leadership, not the title of leader.
- More we, less me. As a leader you must think about the team, the larger perspective, the organizational good. We must become less focused on ourselves and more focused on others. As a leader you are now a part of multiple teams — the team you lead, your peer team of leaders, and perhaps a variety of other ad hoc or project teams as well. The perspective of remarkable leaders is always about we, not me.
While these may matter in a leadership transition, I believe they apply to all of us as leaders every day. Wherever you are in you are in your journey think about how you can apply more of these perspectives in your work.