Your career, like it or not, is not in your control. Sure, you can be extremely competent and even praised by your superiors. But in the end, you need your direct reports to be successful in order for your career to thrive. No leader ever accomplished anything without people to lead. You need their vote, it’s that plain and simple. Realize the opportunity here, not the threat.
Selfless Leadership Connects
The opportunity you have as a leader is to contribute to your team so they think like you six months from now. That says easy…does hard. It requires selflessness and a commitment to move your “B” Players to “A” Player status. And the only way a “B” moves to an “A” is with your relationship and guidance.
As people see your involvement with each direct report (especially the “B” Players who possess the talent to become an “A” but who are inconsistent in their behaviors), everyone will feel you are genuinely connected to your team and on a mission to build your team into Green Berets.
Invest the Time, Reap the Benefits
Managing people takes time. Isn’t it sometimes easier to say, “I’ll just do it myself?” Taking time to work with your directs, however, sends a message: you are going to invest your time with people who desire achievement. The greatest benefit of partnering with your directs, beyond strengthening their skills, is the message of growth. If they want to be successful, they will take your guidance, knowing that doing so will help their career….which, in turn, helps yours.
Stretch Your “A” Players
That said, don’t ignore those who already “get it.” Your “A” team needs to be stretched too. Come up with a plan for them that makes them a bit uncomfortable. Push them past what they know they can do and into areas where they hope they can. Challenges for these players is what will drive them and success with those challenges will reflect well on you.
Try it and let me know.