Story provided by MillennialCEO –
Every year around this same time we take a step back to enjoy the holiday season with our family.
While we all have slightly (or vastly) different rituals, traditions, activities and beliefs; this is the time when many businesses slow down just long enough for us to reflect.
One of the things I have found myself reflecting on this year is what leadership means to me.
Over the past half decade I have done a few different things. I have been CEO of 2 different companies and I have also served as a VP of a third. That itself was a lot.
In this past year I have become a full fledged entrepreneur. As I’m still in the early stages of growing my company I am in the precarious position of not having a team of employees to lead.
No executive team or sales team to hold meetings with. Just me and a few sub-contractors that I have hired to help me through my early stages of growth.
Meaning, each day when I wake I look in the mirror I have to answer to myself. There is no one to pass the buck to, I am the start and the end of the line.
As I reflected on this I was able to confirm at least 3 great lessons about leadership that are all too often forgotten.
Leadership Starts With You: It isn’t always on purpose, but sometimes as your teams get bigger it is easier to let things fall into others hands. While leading is about empowering; empowerment begins when you have set those up who work with you to succeed. This means just delegating doesn’t give you the ability to wipe your hands of responsibility. Too often leaders become a little too removed from operations and there is a great difference between empowering and leaving your team out on an island.
Understanding Your Entire Business: There is so much to know about any business. However if you have President/CEO ambitions, then you better get your arms wrapped around your entire business. This gets forgotten by leaders all the time, but as you get bigger it is important that you don’t lose touch with any facet of your business. I learned this from my father when I was young, however only recently as I stepped back to reflect on how I want to build my company have I seen just how important understanding your whole business can be.
Leadership Ends With You: Whether you seek to lead for recognition or more ideally to see others succeed, you can’t be a part-time leader when it is convenient. Being put in the position of answering to every need of the business big and small made me see this more clearly. Many “Wannabe” leaders want to be leaders when their is an opportunity for recognition, only to disappear when accountability comes calling their name. When you lead, you own it all. Good, bad and ugly, everything that happens falls in your lap. There is a lot to learn from this, especially that some failures are okay. (Never ideal, but okay)
As I head off to enjoy the holiday with friends, family and loved ones, I am thankful and grateful for the lessons and reminders that I have received throughout the course of this past year.
When you step back and reflect on your leadership, what stands out to you? How can you be a better leader?