My Leadership Perspective
Leadership is an important concept to me. I’ve witnessed good and not so good leadership situations over my working career. Consequently, I’ve tried to take the best practices from each situation and apply them to my own leadership style. I know I was a better leader when I was 45 than I was when I was 25 and I hope I’m a better leader now than in the past.
My Proudest Moment As A Leader
The proudest leadership moments across my career were when I recommended subordinates/colleagues for promotion. A lot of companies don’t seem to have active objective promotion polices anymore. They say they promote but my guess is research would show that promotions are subjective and only occur in isolated areas within these companies. These isolated areas may be led by weak leaders who promote colleagues on criteria such as friendship, similar think/vision or cronyism. My hope is for most promotions to come from strong leaders with the initiative and vision to see the long term financial and productivity benefits from retaining strong talent through an active objective promotion policy. Additionally, active objective promotion policies require career development, useful performance evaluation and positive, strength-based coaching. These activities cost time, effort and money and don’t seem prioritized by human resource departments in some companies. Interestingly, research does show companies will spend more time, effort and money to recruit an outside candidate versus promoting from with in.
Good Advise To Pay Forward
With all that said, the greatest piece of leadership advice I received came from a situational leadership class I took long ago. A good leader is one that prepares his/hers subordinates to eventually take his/her current position. A good leader is someone people seek out to work with/for. A good leader provides a clear path for career advancement and success through the elimination of as many obstacles as possible along that path. In my career, I successfully recommended two individuals for promotion. Each time the individuals exceeded expectations and to this day are advancing steadily in their careers. To be honest, all I did was put these colleagues in positions for recognition from senior management for doing good work. I then followed up their hard work with timely, favorable recommendations to initiate the promotion process. That’s it! It’s not difficult but I hear and see promotions happening less frequently these days. As some companies continue with short sighted, subjective employee retention strategies, it’s no secret why they struggle to keep good talent. Some talent will always leave. But some will stay if they feel valued and career recognition through active objective promotion policies is one way to show that value.