By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE OF LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Leaders should be judged on the calibre of their people, not business results, because their job is not to produce results but to cultivate people. As Simon Sinek says, the real job of a leader is to take care of (and grow, according to Legitimate Leadership) those in his/her charge. Not all people want to lead but those who do can absolutely learn the behaviours and leadership practices which are aligned to the care and the growth role. From our experience it typically takes 12-18 months for leaders to develop competence and confidence in leading others. This investment in time and money is well worth it. Companies do not put people in charge of expensive technology without training them. So why put people in charge of other people’s lives without preparing them to succeed at doing so?
OUR EXCERPT FROM THIS VIDEO: There are two things that great leaders need to have: empathy and perspective. These things are very often forgotten.
Leaders are so often so concerned about their status or their position in the organization that they actually forget their real job.
The real job of a leader is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in our charge.
I don’t think people realize this and I don’t think people train for this.
When we’re junior, our only responsibility is to be good at our jobs. That’s all we really have to do. And some people actually get advanced education, or the company trains them, so that they can be really good at their jobs – accounts, or whatever.
Then we work very hard and if we’re good at our job, they promote us.
At some point we get promoted to a position where we’re now responsible for the people who do the job we used to do.
But nobody shows us how to do that.
That’s why we produce managers and not leaders. And the reason our managers are micromanaging us is because they actually do know how to do the job better than us. That’s what got them promoted.
Really what we have to do is go through a transition. We have to go through the transition of first being responsible for the job to being responsible for the people who are responsible for the job.
Some people transition quickly, some people slowly; and unfortunately some people never make that transition at all.
One of the great things that is lacking in most of our companies is that they are not teaching us how to lead. Leadership is a skill like any other. It is a practicable, learnable skill; it is something that you work on.
It’s like a muscle: if you practice it all the days you will get good at it and you will become a strong leader. If you stop practicing, you will become a weak leader.
It’s like parenting. Everyone has the capacity to be a parent. That doesn’t mean everybody wants to be a parent or that everybody should be a parent.
So also for leadership. We all have the capacity to be a leader. That doesn’t mean everybody should be a leader and it doesn’t mean everybody wants to be a leader. And the reason for that is because it comes at great personal sacrifice.
Remember you’re not in charge, you’re responsible for those in your charge.
That means things like when everything goes right you have to give away all the credit, and when everything goes wrong you have to take all the responsibility.
It’s things like when something does actually break or goes wrong, instead of yelling and screaming and taking over you say ‘try again’.
When the overwhelming pressures are on us, at the end of the day great leaders are not responsible for the job – they’re responsible for the people who are responsible for the job.
They’re not even responsible for the results.
I love asking CEOs, ‘what’s your priority?’ They put their hands on their hips, all proud, and say ‘my priority is my customer’. I’m like ‘really, have you even talked to a customer in 15 years?’
There’s no CEO on the planet responsible for the customer. They’re just not. They’re responsible for the people who are responsible for the people who are responsible for the customer.