Leadership is a Gift

Ego-less Leadership

This weeks blog post is from our go-to leadership expert, Terry Lipovski. Lean how to let go of the ego and lead authentically.

Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine a workplace where leaders are not interested in power, but sincerely want to help everyone around them become better tomorrow than they are today. Imagine an organizational culture of shared purpose and support toward a common goal where there is tolerance for uniqueness and ideas are embraced.

Now, open your eyes and come back to reality. I’m betting this is not the world that you work in. But it should be.

With all due respect to many Managers around the world, you need to step up. The business world has changed and the methods that got you to where you are now are no longer adequate. An MBA might prepare you for Management, but there are too many Managers in the World today. Management is control and managing is not the same as leading.

According to the popular “Triple Constraint Theory”, there are 3 things you need to control in business: Scope, Time and Money. Whichever one of these three things your company decides is most important, the other two will suffer. If Profits are your company’s primary concern, Deadlines and Scope will suffer. If Time To Market  is your company’s primary driver, Profits and Scope will decline. If the company expands the Scope of an initiative, then Profits and Timelines will be sacrificed.

Only with tight Controls can companies attempt to balance these three things. Controlling the interplay of Scope, Time and Money leads to Quality and this is the foundation of Management. In order to do this effectively, a Manager requires Power.

Power is achieved when your people allow you, either by choice or lack thereof, to have control. But if a Manager starts to take Power without returning some of it or it’s benefits back to their people, people will disengage and effectiveness declines. Like recent news reports of Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals (who raised the retail price of life-saving medications by 700% until public backlash prevailed) abuse of power rarely lasts. There are countless stories of fallen leaders who took too much power, then lost legitimacy and finally lost control.

So where do people fit in the “Triple Constraints Theory”? The short answer is, you don’t manage people, you lead them. In other words, people fit under the topic of Leadership. Managing people is like pushing a chain, but everyone knows, a chain needs to be pulled. Every person wants to matter, and Managing people implies that they are just another asset that needs to be controlled. Good leaders pull people by putting the interests of their people first, before the temptations of their own egos. Managers do not.

Leadership is a gift. You can’t buy it and you can’t demand it. You either have it or you don’t. You can learn it, hone it, sharpen it, discipline it and develop it but there are no shortcuts. In fact, earning legitimate leadership is really hard work. In order to lead, someone must be willing to follow. Achieving anything substantial as a leader requires a strong goal or purpose where people will willingly follow with passion to give their blood, sweat and tears, jump over buildings and leap through hoops of fire to help the group achieve. This is something that can only be accomplished by a willing team with a strong leader. History suggests that all truly great accomplishments are rooted in teamwork and all teamwork stems from great leaders and compelling purpose.

Leadership is one of the most valuable commodities in the world and a rare quality in people. Successful Leadership requires continual effort and learning. If you want to make a real difference, surround yourself with great people, solid support and great mentors and coaches. Anyone who accepts responsibility for a team should take this responsibility seriously and resign themselves to earn their place.

Be intentional, and lose the ego.

Terry Lipovski is a Leadership and Executive Coach with Envision Group and Ubiquity Leadership Coaching. Based in Canada’s National Capital Region, he works with business leaders around the world to help them and their teams maximize their effectiveness. www.UbiquityLeadership.com

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