Leadership is ultimately creative. If you are changing the game in some way, taking people somewhere new, then you are doing something that has not been done before. You may have a combination of past experience and your own leadership style that guides you, but you need to put together your unique behaviours, ideas and personal values to fulfil your new vision. An artist brings all their unique style and talent to a blank canvas, but they do not keep painting the same picture.
Darrell attributed much of his success to solving complex problems. But as he moved into more senior leadership roles, he found that he could not possibly solve all the problems his group faced. He was happy to relinquish the burden of having to know all the answers. If he did not give up his belief, he faced a future where there would be ever-increasing demands on him and of course more blame if things went wrong. He would end up seeing himself as having failed and would have to move somewhere else. There was no way he was going down that self-destructive path. He shifted his mindset to see himself as the person who gets things done by engaging others, rather than doing it all himself.
Game-changing leaders create new value that solves today’s problems. There is no prescription to follow about how to do that. What worked for you in your last role may not work in your new job. What has worked for other leaders, may also not work for you in a new setting, with a different set of stakeholders and objectives.
Darrell’s one-dimensional problem-solving approach could only take him so far. As soon as he shifted his mindset and gave up the belief that he had to have all the answers, he became more interested in learning. In fact, there was so much to learn about forging a new path that he was humbled by it. Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, has described humility as the most essential trait in the world’s best business leaders. In fact, Darrell realised that he could surround himself with smart people and that his new job was to get the best out of them. He acknowledged to his team that he did not have all the answers about the new direction for the group. But they were energised by the opportunity to collaborate with him on that challenge. They took their leadership to a new level, without him feeling threatened. He was able to adopt a multi-dimensional approach as the situation required.
Are you being a multi-dimensional leader?
Best regards, Brian
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