Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Take the Work Seriously, not Yourself

As a leader, are you taking the work seriously...or yourself?

If you are serving as a leader, you probably got to where you are because you sought out a leadership position.  Fortunately, many leaders are highly committed to the work they do.  They are motivated by the work, it aligns with their values, and they believe that the work is important.  Unfortunately, we occasionally find leaders who take themselves a bit too seriously.  These are the folks who like the title, the nice office, or sadly, the positional power.  These are the folks we follow not because they motivate or inspire us but because we must.  They are our bosses, not our leaders.

What kind of leader are you?  If a random sampling of your staff members were asked, would they identify you as someone who is highly committed to the important work of your school/organization?  Would they describe you as someone whose actions are driven by commitment to the work?  Or would they see you as someone more interested in themselves and their career? 

As you think about your own leadership.  Pause every once in a while and ask yourself if your words and actions - at any moment of any day - are motivated by a strong belief in the importance of the work you are doing or are motivated by some personal benefit that you may gain.  You will know the answers to these questions and you'll need to respond accordingly.  However, keep in mind the old saying: Don't worry whether they are listening to you or not.  Worry that they are watching.  If you have difficulty answering the question above, don't worry.  Those you lead can always answer it accurately. 

1 comment:

  1. This posting rang very true to me as I read it. I have always seen myself as very professional, serious, black and white. I know this is also the impression that I give off in my workplace, sometimes to the extent that others think I'm too serious and are not able to relax! After reading this post, I realized that as a leader, I need to be more aware of the way I am coming across to others, especially ones I am leading. I can still show seriousness and professionalism with my work, but have a personality that is more approachable and inviting. "Take the work seriously...not yourself" makes sense and sounds easy, and I can see how it makes for a better leader in the workplace.