“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell
“When you become a leader you give up the right to think about yourself.” – Gerald Brooks
I am a person who reads a great deal – articles, blogs, newspapers, magazines, and books. I primarily enjoy reading nonfiction in subjects ranging from leadership to religion to books about relationships. Many people find it strange that a chemist (that’s me) would enjoy reading about these subjects, but I am a little bit different than your average chemist. I studied Sociology while I was in college too. I find books that tie into field of social psychology to be extremely interesting and enlightening. I also enjoy the cultural aspects of the subject as well. To me, understanding human interactions and the impact of a person’s surroundings has helped me be a good husband, a good father, a good friend, and a good leader. This knowledge has also helped me navigate the sometimes murky waters of corporate culture.
As a plant manager at a chemical plant, I find that I use the knowledge I gained studying Sociology more than the knowledge I gained studying Chemistry. I believe the knowledge I gained studying human behaviors and relationships as well as my experiences growing up have helped me become the leader/manager I am today. However, I always think there is more to learn, and I enjoy sharing what I learn through experiences and from my reading with others. That, I believe, is one of the most important things I can do as a leader. It is my job to make sure those that work for me and with me are ready for that next step in their careers. It is my job to make sure that they are the best at what they do and are successful overall.
At my plant, we are currently in what I would call a state of “flux.” A number of the managers that have worked at the plant are moving on to new positions within the organization. Two have been promoted and are in the process of transitioning to their new plant, while two more associates are being considered for more challenging positions in different parts of the division. To be honest with you, I am excited and proud and happy for them. They have all achieved a great deal of success in their current roles and are being rewarded for it, and I hope what I shared with them through listening, coaching, and encouragement made them standout above the others in terms of their technical and leadership skills. This is what I’m supposed to do.
When people standout, it’s easy to sell the positive aspects and help them get promoted. However, there are times where a leader has to go to bat for someone that others may not see as ready for that promotion or that leadership position. In some organizations, there are unwritten rules regarding tenure with a company or in a certain position that keep people from being promoted when they are ready. When this occurs, the leader’s job is to make sure that person gets fair consideration even if they’ve only held their current position for a short period of time. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone might tell you “no”, but the fact you as a leader went to bat for that person will help them gain visibility as well as improve the relationship that you have with that person.
A good leader builds a team that fosters the development of even more leaders. A good leader does this through good communication, listening, coaching, and building relationships with the people that he/she work with everyday. A good leader sets people up to succeed even when he/she gives their employees challenging goals. Finally, a good leader puts the success of the organization and others above his/her own personal success.
What do you think?