A Price Of Leadership – Now Is The Time For You To Pay It
Do you lead a team, client account, practice area, office, business? If you do- then read this now. But beware. You probably won’t like its vitally important message for these times of change. Read on- if you dare!
It’s ANZAC Day – the annual remembrance of those fallen in Australia’s conflicts. In watching the documentaries of war stories and legends, I revisit my dark secret. You see- I am a coward at heart. Big time. I look at what those men and women did, risked, attempted, and then think about how I would act in similar circumstances. In truth, I can’t imagine anything except terror, self-preservation and ducking for cover.
Fact is, in the face of great threat and unimaginable horror, ordinary people do find the courage to step up- to do amazing acts of bravery, to risk all to help and protect others- to show leadership under fire. And many paid the ultimate price for that. Lest we forget.
Not wanting to trivialize in any way war and sacrifice, I do take a powerful leadership lesson from this reality to share with you today. Respectfully, here it is:
The cost of leadership is self-interest.
This is a two minute read. Give it a go.
You have heard this before- every business is under unprecedented attack as technology changes everything. Think about this. Seven years ago, Nokia was the leading mobile phone maker in the world and Apple was not in that business. Seven years later-KAPOW! And think about Uber- how it came from nowhere to stuff the taxi and limo business. This fundamental ‘game change’ is happening everywhere.
So pause a moment and think on this- who is working on a plan right now- today- to ‘Uber’ your business?
The barbarians ARE at the gate, and they are coming to try to get us. So- what to do about it?
This is where sacrificing self-interest comes in.
Simon Sinek puts it something like this: “We are happy for our leaders to get perks. But when danger comes, we expect them to run towards the danger- to put themselves at risk to protect us.”
So here’s the question- if you lead a team, an account, a P&L, an office, a division- whatever- if you are a leader, are you running towards the danger?
Are you putting yourself in the shoes of those out there who are thinking today about how to ‘Uber’ your client, your account, your team, business? Are you thinking about solutions, no matter what personal risk might be involved?
To ‘step up’ today you have to have the courage to tell the truth to power. You have to be able and willing to tell hard truths to powerful others who often don’t want to hear it. This might be senior clients, colleagues in your business, industry associates. Remember- just because they don’t like the message does not mean it is not true.
Also, be prepared that your ideas might not be right. But at least have them- air them- see if your clients, partners, colleagues are prepared to consider and debate them. See what their ideas are. Speak up. Agitate for debate. Drive restless and relentless thinking and questioning about what’s coming- and how we must adapt and adopt to thrive tomorrow.
So- remember these headlines:
- The cost of leadership is self-interest.
- Run towards the danger facing your area of responsibility.
- Have the courage to tell those who need to know the hard truths facing the business and team.
- Be prepared that your ideas might not be right- but at least have them- fire up the debate- NOW.
Most of the stories of the greatest bravery and self-sacrifice from conflicts are not about the Generals and Field Marshals. They are about ordinary rank and file, who had the foresight and courage to see the threat, see the opportunity, and to take action. Sometimes they provided the spear for advance: other times, the shield to protect. Point is – they stood up. And often paid the price. Lest we forget.
Every one is a leader. Every one of us can help colleagues, teams, clients, businesses and ourselves tackle issues, deal with change and move forward. You don’t have to have Manager or Supervisor in your title.
Food for thought. We don’t have to face the mortal dangers the ANZACS did, but we do have the opportunity to protect others in our little worlds at a time of threat. Have we got the courage to step up? Do you? Do I? Let’s see…..