Many young leaders, particularly in larger organizations, overcame significant competition to earn their leadership positions. In fact, very often one of the key strengths of new leaders is their competitive nature. They hunger not only for success but to be “better” than everyone around them.
Once they begin to move up the leadership ladder however some of that competitive nature can become a liability. New leaders must learn to shift their focus from competing with others to competing with themselves. Instead of trying to be better than the person next to them they should be working on being a better version of themselves.
One of the worst things a new leader can do is to continue to compete with their people and their fellow leaders after they are in a leadership position. Competing with your people makes it harder for them to trust you; it builds a competitive wall between you and the people you need to help you succeed. Your success as a leader is completely dependent upon the success of your people, you don’t want anything to come between you and them.
So, instead of competing with your people and fellow leaders work hard at completing them.
By completing I mean help them succeed. Authentic Leaders help ALL their people, even their former competitors, grow. Leaders who complete their people help them find and fill their “skill gaps.” They coach, they mentor, they share their experience, they let the best idea win, even if it allows someone else to be in the spotlight for a time. Leaders who work to complete their people build more leaders, not more followers.
You won’t like this but it needs to be said. If you’re a leader who is competing against the people you’re supposed to be leading then you probably lack the self confidence to lead effectively. If you constantly need to prove that you’re better than everyone around you then you might not be that much better. Leaders who are confident enough to lead are also confident enough to celebrate the success of the people they lead.
To be a complete leader you must see the bigger picture of success and realize that the success of the organization is more important than your personal success. If you’re leading in an organization where that isn’t true then I’d suggest you find an organization that allows you to be a complete leader…you’ll be a whole lot happier in the long run.
Remember, the most successful leaders don’t compete, they complete.
5 thoughts on “Complete Leadership”
Great post, Steve
Steve, I agree with everything you wrote. Though it amazes me, and I’m sure you as well, how many leaders believe they need to compete vs. complete. They’re not comfortable in their own skin. They lead by instilling fear. For many, that strategy works. Unfortunately they’ll never earn the respect of their followers.
Very true Steve, it “works” for them but only in the short term. You’re also right about not being comfortable in their skin…and when they are not they really don’t want anyone else to be comfortable either.