For lots of people, there’s a massive, really important leadership role just waiting for them to step into. In fact, it’s already got their name on it. David delves into the detail.
Becoming a better leader and achieving promotion as a result, is on the minds and in the deeds of thousands of the people we’ve worked with over the years. People devote time, effort and energy to their careers (often too much) as they climb the hierarchical ladder, so one day they can become ‘the big boss’. There are many exceptions of course. Some people find that managing others is a distraction from what they truly want to achieve in their career. They pursue their passion or vocation and don’t feel the need to move up the structural pyramid. Back when I used to work at Tesco, if you didn’t actually manage people then you didn’t even have the word manager or director in your job title. A number of our current clients have developed what they call ‘technical career paths’ so that their people can advance their careers within their discipline and not worry about having people who report into them.
I believe that for both the traditional management path and the technical path, everyone should aspire to be ‘the big boss’. Let me explain. The most important ‘boss’ position in our lives is not defined by whether or not we manage others but whether or not we manage ourselves. When we arrived on the planet and went through our formative years, there was generally, never a moment when we were given a title, pay rise or round of applause to mark the fact that we’d been promoted to manager of ourselves. Yet we are our own ‘big boss’. No one told us. There was no instruction manual and no ceremony, and until we realise it (and some people never do) the position stays vacant. Our thoughts, feelings, inner dialogue, beliefs, confidence and expectations are left leaderless. Left to meander. Left to chance.
I have been privileged to coach many people as part of my career and there is a coaching question that I must have asked thousands of times. It goes something like, “So, I understand who’s in charge of all the stuff on the outside but who’s in charge of you on the inside… who’s the true ‘big boss’ in your life?”
Once people realise that the ‘position was vacant,’ they can then start to take ownership of the most important boss role they will ever have. Or, if they can’t start to take ownership straightaway, they can start to explore what’s stopping them and plan from there. The coaching can then focus on the skills and techniques they will need to excel in the role of ‘The Official Big Boss of Me On The Inside’.
If you’ve read this blog and it’s helped you realise that you had a ‘vacant position’, congratulations! You’ve just been promoted to the most important ‘big boss’ role in the world.