For those of you movie buffs, you may have recognized that I borrowed the title for this post from a scene in the movie Top Gun where Maverick and Goose “felt the need for speed.”
With so many items competing for attention as leaders, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that leading, in the form of influencing and inspiring others, is a primary leadership responsibility, not an optional activity or additional duty. At our core, we all know that our leadership development is important, but like the treadmills collecting dust in many of our basements, we can get distracted by the aforementioned deluge of items and therefore do not always take the leadership related actions that we should take.
Simply having access to great leadership development tools and resources is not sufficient. We as leaders need to be absolutely convinced of and committed to the fact that in service to those we lead and to the clients we serve, improving our leadership quotient is a “high gain” activity that requires an investment, even at the expense of other “important” activities that we perform.
A core question is simply “what do I need to believe to make the commitment to becoming a more effective leader?” It may be believing that there is a tangible ROI for time spent in developing our leadership knowledge and skills. For some of us and admittedly often for me, it may mean believing that we need to give up the need to be all things to all people, or the need to be in control, or to be a “go to” subject matter expert in our organization.
Let’s contemplate that core question and then consider embracing the following actions to more effectively L.E.A.D:
L – Lean into your leadership role (Resolve to learn about leadership theory and more importantly become convinced that any investment made in becoming a better leader will indeed have a positive impact on both us and our entire team. It is a key responsibility in our roles and not an additional duty that is secondary to “real” work).
E- Empower (Remember that as a leader you are in charge primarily to “charge up” others. Provide the vision and goals then get out of the way and let the team find the best way to achieve them).
A – Adapt (Successful leadership is often highly situational. Leadership approaches should ideally vary according to the situation and person specific needs. One size does not fit all).
D – Demonstrate (Be the change you want to see. The world needs more demonstration and less instruction).
So let’s intentionally LEAD. As I have noted in another blog posting, not only is it the right thing to do for our team members but in a world where automation, globalization, and other factors are redefining our workplaces, the need to become great people managers and leaders may be one of the few essential constants remaining.