Have you earned the right to lead?
After 2 weeks travel when a client (Business Development Leader) came for a coaching session, he took an official call just before the session and this is what I heard him talking “You have to do it, this is not my job, I have other things to do, I can’t spare the time to get into details. By hook or crook, just do it”. As a coach, I took the liberty of asking more about what had just happened, I got to know that he has been traveling and one of the subordinates was having a challenge in completing and assignment and was seeking his time to discuss details and plan further action”. By virtue of his superior position, he had pushed back on the subordinate, instructing him to get the job done, leaving the onus on him to find out his own solutions.
Most of the leaders don’t gel with the concept of “Earn the Right to Lead”; they think it is a given; you are leader by virtue of your position and people have to follow you because they must. They have the powers to order the teams around.
What does it mean to the “Earn the Right”?
It means that you can’t claim to be a true leader unless you have earned the right, yes, you heard it right. In other words, it is the people around you who declare that you are leader, and that you are leader only if you are someone who they will follow, willingly.
How do I know that I have earned the right to lead?
There are many litmus tests, I am listing one simple one below for your reference.
If someone in your team commits a mistake: -
- Do they trust you enough to share with you immediately?
- Do they have the courage to share true facts?
- Do they believe that you are competent enough to resolve the issue? Or suggest the best remedy?
- They trust you enough that they know they will not be exposed? That it will not be portrayed as their fault alone?
- That they will be not be made to feel miserable because of any genuine mistakes?
- That they are sure that they will emerge stronger and wiser after the situation is over?
- That you will be able to help them gain enough knowledge that the mistake is not repeated in future at all!
Jack Welch (GE), mentioned in one of the interviews that the ability of a leader to successfully run large companies in today’s VUCA world is based on just two words “Trust” & “Truth”: your people should have enough trust on you to tell you the truth about the situation, so that you can take the right decisions at the right time; else by the time you will discover the truth, it will be too late, you may just be able to do a post mortem.
Choose to be a Leader by earning the right to lead!