Why you? Why now? What makes you relevant? Why should I pay attention to you rather than hit the “Next” button?
These are the questions that should keep us awake at night. The answers will determine the value of your company to its customers; your work group to your company; and your desirability as a current or future employee.
The answers most of us give are wrong.
Your company’s world-class service offerings and “proprietary” approaches are – more times than we admit – simply industry best practices re-languaged for marketing.
The same is true for departments and work groups. Need proof? If I called your CEO with the promise that I could deliver the same or better quality work as your team provides at a 20% savings, could I get a meeting?
How about your personal worth as an applicant or employee? Is there that much difference in your experience or skill sets? Is ten years of experience automatically better than eight? Is a degree from one university that much better than a comparable degree from another school in another part of the country or world?
The difference between the great and the merely good is leadership.
Why Leadership is Critical
Strong, effective leadership provides the intangible leverage that allows organizations to stand out from their competitors. It creates the environment where customers recognize added value and choose to spend money with you. It guides decision making to ensure resources are effectively utilized. And, it keeps everyone engaged and committed to focused execution.
True, inspired leadership rises to the difficult circumstances presented by soft economies, unrelenting pressure on resources, and increased demands from customers. It creates a quiet confidence that challenges can and will be met.
What This Means for You
Organizations improve when people improve. Effective leaders attract, retain, and develop talent in good times and bad.
What’s true for organizations is equally applicable to individuals. If you want a better job, grow your leadership ability while maintaining your professional skill sets. If you want to be indispensable in your current job, add value by being an effective leader. If you want to influence more, lead more.
My guess is that you know what you need to do to improve your organization’s performance. You know how you need to perform and behave to influence others through the power of trust and credibility rather than through positional power as a manager.
You don’t earn medals for leading the victory parade. The honors come from performance in the trenches. It’s about leadership – and it is needed now more than ever.