leadership responsibilities

Heads up CEOs… Success and Leadership Have Gears!

By Susan Ford Collins

Are you and your organization using the right one at the right time?

As we drive, we use gears to move us ahead, slowly then more rapidly and easily. As we succeed, we use gears too.

Success has three gears

1st Gear is for starting and restarting, for becoming effective at new skills and technologies. Keywords: always/never, can/can’t, safe/dangerous, possible/impossible, right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, have to and must.

2nd Gear is for accelerating productivity and honing your competitive edge, for deleting startup rules and devising shortcuts. Keywords: more-better-faster-cheaper, quantity/quality, win/lose, produce/compete, longer hours/higher stress, burnout and injury.

3rd Gear is for moving beyond the previously productive; for creating and innovating, inventing new products and services. Keywords: aha, discover, create, invent, innovate and start up.

Each success gear has a corresponding leadership gear

When you’re leading in 1st Gear, you are responsible for supervising, or having others supervise, new learners, for developing new skills, building self-confidence and enthusiasm. We need to supervise closely and intervene quickly to turn around setbacks and rebuild self-confidence. To assess and certify their readiness for 2nd Gear.

When we’re leading in 2nd Gear, we need to manage from more distance, describing specifically what we want them to accomplish and providing regular and accurate appraisals. Even though we’re not always with them, we are still in charge, managing by numbers, charts and graphs.

When we’re leading in 3rd Gear, we need to support their creative ideas, help them find expertise and resources to build a powerful start up team. When setbacks wipe out their dreams temporarily, we need to hold their dreams with them, and even for them, until they get regain their vision and enthusiasm.

How are “your gear-habits” impacting your organization?

Which people on your team prefer to operate in 1st Gear? Which ones prefer doing more-better-faster, working long and hard to earn promotions and bonuses? Which ones are generating new ideas and a? Who is ready to gear up, and who needs to gear down to relearn, or start elsewhere?

When financial “push comes to shove”, instead of leading individuals to creativity and innovation, do you sometimes incent employees to stay in one gear or another? Do you over-reward or disproportionately bonus more-better-faster 2nd gear behaviors? And under-reward the 1st gear learning and relearning your company needs to keep up? What incentives and support systems does your organization have in place for nourishing the new ideas and approaches you need for success in the future?

10 Responsibilites of a Highly Successful Leader

By Susan Ford Collins

As leaders, what is expected of us at work, at home and in our communities? What do those who follow us need so they can become successful... effective, efficient and ultimately creative? So they can bring forth the next generation of ideas, systems, inventions and innovations?

Here is a deep and sensitive look at what others really want from us. Isn't this exactly what you want from your leaders now... or you wish they had given you in the past?

A Declaration of Leadership... 10 Responsibilities of a Highly Successful Leader

1- We are responsible for being trustworthy leaders, for allowing those who follow us to have confidence in us until we can help them build confidence in themselves... self-confidence. We are responsible for protecting and educating them until they can effectively take over these responsibilities themselves.

2- We need to recognize when those we lead are ready for independence when they need more freedom, less control and supervision. We must sense when to shift from acknowledging compliance to our rules and regulations, to acknowledging their productivity and competition, their creativity and innovation.

3- We need to support them as they begin dreaming their own dreams—pre-experiencing desired outcomes along with them or suggesting others who can assist them in discovering appropriate first steps.

4-We need to communicate patiently and skillfully, making it safe for our followers to share their evolving ideas, likes and dislikes, choices and preferences—handling their “newborn dreams like tiny precious butterflies.” By respecting their choices now, we encourage them to respect others’ choices when they will lead later.

5- We need to provide expertise until we can find other experts to assist them, or they learn how to select and vet experts on their own.

6- We are responsible for updating their fears and disappointments, or finding experts who can. We need to regularly update old rules and limits that we set for them, helping expand their Safe Zone and contract their Danger Zone. And opening the door to The Potential Zone, the zone where they will create our future as well.

7- We need to hold their outcomes with them, especially when they don't have the foggiest idea what to do next, when they get discouraged or fall into the depths of impossibility. We need to cheer them all the way to completion and greater creativity.

8- We are responsible for shielding their dreams from the cold drafts and scorching heat of others’ disagreement and overpowering statements of impossibility. We need to say things to them that they will need to say to themselves. Yes, you can. (Yes, I can.) You need to think of another way. )I need to think of another way.) Let's hold this outcome together until we can find other *Co-dreamers... people who will keep the details of your dream alive in their hearts and minds with you, people you can talk to when upsets and setbacks make you temporarily forget where you are headed. People who can help re-install the details of your dream destination and re-energize you as you set out again.

9- We are responsible for turning negative thoughts into positives ones by asking switching questions. If you don't want this, what do you want? If this doesn't work, what might work instead? If you don't know this, who might know it? Even when we disagree with their outcome in the moment, we need to encourage them to keep asking for what they want, from us and from others. And we need to celebrate their success with them when they finally get there... to attend their product launches, award ceremonies, weddings and baby showers.

10- As leaders, we are responsible for maintaining our health and balance—monitoring our food and exercise, feeling the effect it is having on our health, on our moods and emotions, so those around us will learn how to maintain their health and balance too. We need to remember that we are leading by example 24/7. We need to be powerful inspiring, happy, healthy models.

And, we need to extend the same care and sensitivity to other leaders and followers with whom we work and live.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

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Your Working Life: Caroline Dowd-Higgins interviews Susan Ford Collins