Every year in time for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., I share thoughts on why everyone in a leadership role should be thankful for the privilege of serving and leading. Here are a few reasons to pause and reflect on as you count your blessings.
At Least Six Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Leadership Opportunity
1. Someone Trusted You Enough to Lead
We often forget that in organizational life, someone chooses us to be successful—in large part because they trust us to do something positive with the resources in our care. Be sure to repay that trust every single day by doing the right things the right way.
2. Leading is a Privilege
By the nature of your role, you have the opportunity to help, support, coach, and grow the people around you. This is extraordinary work that merits your best efforts.
3. You’re Learning on Their Time
If your experience mirrors mine in, you’ll soon recognize it’s the group that is helping you learn to lead, not the other way around. I am forever grateful to those teams and individuals who let me learn on the job with them.
4. You are Working with the Raw Materials of Greatness
I’ve often half-joked this job would be easy if it weren’t for the people. I’m quick to highlight, however, that people are what and who we have in our charge. They are the raw materials of invention and success. All of us in leadership roles need to get the people part right. Learn to empathize with everyone you encounter. Listen hard. And then listen harder before you respond.
5. Teaching is a Privilege
The old adage, those who can’t do, teach is complete b.s. Leaders are teachers through their daily interactions and behaviors. The late Andy Grove (Intel) was so committed to teaching his managers what excellent management was, he wrote one of the seminal books on the topic. I once heard the late, great jazz trumpet player and bandleader, Maynard Ferguson, offer, “If you can teach, why wouldn’t you?” I agree.
6. You’re Helping People Build Their Futures
Your actions today, working with others, become the backstories in their futures. I’m humbled that I had a chance to help, coach, and support so many great people who today lead companies, industries, departments, and who are now helping others in this world. Time doesn’t stop for you as the leader—make every second with people count. After all, you’re becoming a part of their history. Make it a good part.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
In most organizations, the focus is on results. If you don’t generate the right results, you lose the opportunity to lead. Just never forget the best results come from hard-working people who have momentarily placed their trust in you to support and even protect them. Be forever thankful for their trust and guard it ferociously.