Guest blogger Andrea Buczynski is a teammate, friend, and VP of Leadership Development and Human Resources for CCCi. I invited her to share a recent ‘aha’ in her own leadership development.
When I was growing up as a young leader, it was common to look to the leaders above you for answers, resources, and different approaches. They had a broader view. They were exposed to other leaders, and I was not. So they were my conduit to more knowledge and different ways of doing things.
For many years this paradigm has framed my view of leadership and the critical role of coach as a resource distributor. A simple question someone asked me a few weeks ago made me ponder this in new way.
“How has the advance of technology affected leaders?”
I found myself talking before I even knew what I was saying. I shared my own experience and then said this, “That is no longer true. People don’t need their leaders to resource them in the same way that I experienced in the past. Even now, I will Google something I don’t know about before I do anything else. Information is available so widely. No one would depend on his or her leader for information. In many cases, people that I work with are way more knowledgeable about what is going on in certain areas than I am.”
Have you ever just said something and been surprised by it? I was.
And then I started thinking.
If that is true, then the need for a leader to engage with team members, whether distributed or local, actually increases. Self-resourcing people can get into mission drift relatively quickly. There are thousands of sources of ideas. New ideas multiply and grab attention in ways that conventional means do not. And they can take you places that you can’t see ahead of time.
If you’re the kind of leader who assumes that “no news is good news” or that people will call me when they need me, you’re making a bad assumption. Because things can be all quiet and you can be thinking that things are going well when drift is happening.
If leaders are no longer the primary resource sharers or generators, then what do they bring to the people they lead? I have to think that it’s the interaction, affirmation, correction, encouragement and clarity that people are looking for that is the essence of the leader/follower relationship. Are we accomplishing what we are called to accomplish?
What do the people you lead really need you to bring? Are you bringing it?