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Who Will be my Leader?

This is a flattering question depending on the nonverbal behaviors that go with its delivery. As a successful leader, you’re allowed to bask in the warm feeling that this question conjures up for a few seconds before you proceed to answer it. Time’s up.

In Creating You & Co., William Bridges suggests that " Job security no longer resides in a job (any job). It resides in your ability to add value to what some organization does…." Try reading it with a few words changed. Job security no longer resides in a boss (any boss). It resides in your ability to lead yourself in a way that adds value to what some organization does. Great leaders work with the members of their teams to help them develop their own leadership skills.

Like good consultants and good parents, these leaders aim to work themselves out of a job. They know that if they lead with this attitude, their team will always value their leadership just as the consultant will have clients that want them back and the parents will have adult children who will always value their opinion. Leaders of the old school–command-and-control types–are shortchanging the people they lead and, ironically, themselves. They’ll never experience the joy of watching someone they’ve coached succeed on their own. They’ll never get to marvel at the moment when the student outpaces the teacher, and they’ll be poorer for it.

If you’ve never thought about this before, use this question as a wake-up call. You need to review how you’re preparing your people to lead themselves or transition to another leader. You need to help your team own their values, their work, and their success.

If you’ve done your homework, Who’s going to be my leader? will be an easy question to answer. Nothing’s going to change; you’ll keep leading yourself.