“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
John C. Maxwell
This quote really resonates with me. You just can’t guide people if you yourself don’t know where you are going. You may not always be able to cut a clear path to where you are headed but you at least have to have some idea of the destination. In fact, I would contend that a huge chunk of a leader’s energy, time and other resources should be spent mapping that destination.
All too often leaders, even the best of us, get bogged down on details rather than spend the time we need creating a vision for our organizations and planning the path to get everyone there. This can happen for any number of reasons and it can happen to even the most adept and laser-focused among us.
I know some of us get sidetracked on elements of our business that could easily be delegated to someone else but that we really like doing. I know a great many business leaders that love tagging along on a sales call, or intimately planning their company’s marketing or interviewing all levels of staff, not because they have to but because they like to. I think this is fine as we all have to stay engaged and derive the most pleasure and satisfaction from our work.
But I also see leaders getting stuck doing things they really don’t want to do that also could be delegated. Maybe they think no one else can do it like they can (probably true) or that they don’t have the time to show someone how to do it (also true but shortsighted). It IS difficult to pass along a responsibility you once did to someone else. The reality is they won’t do it precisely they way you did and yes, it will take more time up front to get them ramped up, but the time saved and opened up to do things only you can do is huge long term.
As the new year approaches, I am reminded to refocus my efforts on those areas of my organization that really can’t be done by anyone else as well as help grow the people around me to take on new challenges and responsibilities that allow me to do the same. I also challenge all of us to work on our maps, our visions for our companies so that we can indeed know the way, go the way and show the way. Happy New Year!