Most of us have heard the phrase “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” meaning if it’s good enough for one person, it’s good enough for the group. Today I want to turn this phrase on its head.
In this case, what is good for the organization is good for the individual.
One of the tools I use to lead organizations to excellence is an alignment model. It starts with discovering and stating with clarity the purpose of the organization. The second step is to focus intently on accomplishing the purpose. And thirdly, bringing all people, activities and resources into alignment with the purpose.
Having increased our understanding of the value of self-development, I would like to suggest that as leaders we use this model to develop ourselves.
Firstly, have we identified our purpose as leaders? Even though we’re using a foundational definition of good leadership—effectively influencing people to good outcomes—there is no one purpose that fits all. After all, we lead out of our own identity, and each of us is unique.
For example, one of my primary purposes as a leader is to help people translate their vision into reality.
Secondly, have we focused our development activities as leaders on our purpose? Yes, there are foundational skills, such as communication, that we should always focus on, but we should avoid development activities that aren’t focused on our purpose.
Based on my given purpose, I would not engage in development activities focused on leading a sales and marketing work group.
Thirdly, have we aligned our development activities with our purpose? There are a variety of ways to be developed: classroom training (including online training), pursuing a specialized degree (20 years after getting my law degree, I went back to school to get a Master’s in organizational development), being mentored and hands-on training, to name a few.
Given my purpose, I would seek development activities, such as being coached, that would help me to operate in my purpose. Because a primary method of influencing leaders to better translate their vision into reality is coaching them, I also find that it’s a good method for developing my leadership skills.
Coming Next: some tips on discovering our leadership purpose and creating focus and alignment with that purpose.