Don’t desire to become a leader if all you want is smooth sailing. Part of the job description is “problem-solver”. All leaders are faced with problems.
I remember working in a company where the CEO’s consistent line was “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”
I can understand why he would choose to say this. Too often, people get caught up in the problem. They discuss the problem, decide who is responsible for the problem, gossip the problem to others. They create a “problem” atmosphere among their friends and colleagues. The result: nothing gets resolved; people become demoralised; a blame culture is encouraged. Very rarely do they see that they could be the problem, or part of the problem.
Team meetings, management meetings and some board meetings can often get caught up in this culture, and it takes a leader to put the brakes on it, and change direction. No-one is in doubt that a problem exists. Now it needs a solution. Therefore, when my CEO said what he did, he was not denying the problem, but wanted to direct the focus on resolution.
A good leader doesn’t ever say that he alone is the solution. As with my CEO, everyone is encouraged to offer ideas towards a solution. To rely on the leader doing everything takes away from the skills and talents of the team. And, after all, no man can do all things. The leader may not have the answer, skills or talents to be the solution. A good leader recognises his/her own weaknesses and brings in people to the team who are strong in these areas.
And this was what my CEO was doing, although at the time I didn’t see it. He sought to develop my strengths and skills that he saw in me. He turned negative attitudes and problems around and gave responsibility and empowerment to others. He oversaw the resolution, supported those involved, but gave authority to others to implement it. This is a sign of a great leader.
Is my story anything like yours?
Did you have a boss who encouraged, or held you back? How did you deal with that?
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