Being the leader is really cool! The leader has a nice office. The leader has very flexible hours. Leaders can come into work late and leave early. After all, who is going to question when the leader comes to work or goes home? They can take long lunch breaks without having to worry about clocking-in. They get a parking spot and the car to park in it. Yeah, being the leader is very cool.
Sadly, this is how many executives are viewed by their work force. No one realizes the hours they put in during any given work day, can and often does, exceed 10 to 16 hours. No one realizes that many executives have already had two phone conferences before arriving at the office and leaving the office early is an effort to get to a dinner on time with an unhappy client.
Before I go any further, note that I started this scenario referring to the leader. I went onto refer to the executive. Are they not one and the same? What is your opinion?
The work force looks to its leadership for establishing the direction, the vision of the organization. The leader is looked to for setting the standards of the organization. Setting the standards range from the simple, e.g., what are the core work hours to the complicated, e.g., fair treatment of all employees; I think all will agree “fair” can be a relative word. Leaders are expected to know not just what the organization does, but how it’s done. Leaders are expected to have a conduct that exemplifies what the organization is about.
Many executives find themselves in leadership positions quite unexpectedly. Some have been promoted into a supervisory position as a result of having good personal sales numbers, others as a result of years of service in the organization. In relatively young organizations the chief executive and the senior executives were members of the organization at the start. These executives have the full understanding of what the organization does but may be lacking when it comes to leadership.
The ability to lead does not come miraculously with the position. Successful leaders exhibit certain traits and principals that seem to be common among successful leaders, with one of the most important principals being—“know yourself.” The executive leader must shoulder wide ranging responsibilities from providing a vision to establishing work standards as previously noted. There are many expectations of the executive leader. There are expectations from the work force, some of which I have noted above. Additionally, there are expectations from stock holders, board members, customers, and vendors. The astute executive/leader will also realize there are expectations from the community they operate in and from the families they go home to daily.
Being a leader is cool. It is also hard work. Anyone can become a leader. It takes the desire to do so and development.
Fortitude Consulting is in the business of Executive Leadership and Strategy working with outstanding leaders to leverage talent, dramatically improve performance and rapidly exceed goals.