Throughout my career I’ve coached and worked with countless of senior executives who seemed to think they were working in a “perfect” organization – “perfect” or blessed, simply because they were the ones “leading” it. The Almighty GodManager if you wish. I am confident that you too have come across one or many of these managers who are self-proclaimed “leaders” wanting to be in charge of everything yet sadly ends up leading – or even managing – nothing. We recognize them by the way they keep their disillusioned feeling of power close to home, not uncommonly at the organizational level where they currently are at. When working with some of the organization’s strategical questions they are the ones setting the organization’s vision and goals and it is they whom decided when the goals are fulfilled.
Needless to say these individuals find themselves working upstream a lot, often huffing and puffing about their overwhelmed sense of “important tasks to do” as they feel the urge to do “everything by themselves” – after all, they are the ones “running the show”… The chosen one. Except they are not. Not really. No, let me rephrase that…not at all. Their employees are most likely working harder. In trying to figure out where the organization is heading and what their own part really is in the organizational big picture. Meanwhile they are also huffing and puffing about their huge work load, with no time to help a colleague yet not at all willing to give up any of their enormous amount of tasks to anyone else. At first sight it looks like a busy well run organization – it has to be since everyone is working so extremely hard, right? But at a deeper look you’ll see nothing but chaos with everyone being busy doing nothing remotely productive for the organization. Dollars ticking away for no reason and only because of the one at the top of the organizational chai – a very high price not only for the customers but also for all the stakeholders, including the employees, the shareholders, the community and in the end, the nation.
So what can we do about it? I’d say, many things. We know that in successful organizations leaders live and breathe the company vision. A vision that is created by the entire organization – created from bottom up, not the other way around. These leaders undoubtedly supports the implementation of the vision by encouraging their employees to put focus on specific and powerful goals. In doing so, they are creating an energetic value-based environment where their employees are empowered to creatively take part in the overhead strategic plans as they work towards the fulfillment of the vision. It’s natural, in order for your vision to manifest you first need to make sure your employees feel ownership of it and it’s fulfillment.
But that’s not it. Apart from involving your employees in the process of setting your organization’s vision you also need to let them participate in setting the organization’s goals – goals that are perceived by your employees as meaningful. Your goals need to be challenging enough for your employees to step up yet not so unrealistic that they feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it, clear so that they are easy to understand for everyone, time-specified so that everyone knows when they are to be fully implemented, measurable so that you – and your employees – will know when they actually are reached and few for the purpose of maintaining focus. Secondly you need to ensure that you employees understand the connection between their actions – their de facto work – and your set goals. By dividing the main goals into smaller goals and further to individual goals for each employee, your employees will be additionally stimulated to do their very best to fulfil the organizational goals.
There’s no doubt that the greatest of leaders create an inspiring vision for themselves, their people and their organizations. For these extraordinary leaders this vision is not only words on a piece of shiny paper but it also has a deep meaning – it’s supported by the organizational values. In an ideal organizational world the organization’s vision together with its well-accepted and lived-by values create the frame within which employees act. In a perfect organization leaders do not simply point at the organization’s vision and actually expects it to be owned and followed by the employees.
Leaders who empower their entire organization to persistently work towards the fulfillment of the organizational vision and goals not only create a sense of personal value to the organization’s stakeholders but also intensify their feeling of being an important part of something – part of the community. These truly servant leaders know that by supporting their employees’ growth while fulfilling the organization’s goals they create a positive force of appreciation, loyalty as well as a culture of discipline. Discipline to do what needs to be done and to put short-sighted or even selfish needs aside for the greater good – the bigger picture.
Great leaders knows that if they want more they need to give more and by their own actions they inspire their organization to do the same – one step at the time and then yet another. The foolproof roadmap to Success.