Friday, 10 March 2017

Pay it Forward.

There is an element of leadership that appeals to the lone wolf.  This person wants the responsibility of the final decision.  They don’t mind being held accountable.  They are very much a person for whom ‘…the buck stops here…’

The fallacy though is that these aspects of leadership apply to everyone in positions of responsibility.  It is not something unique to the lone wolf.  Every leader is ultimately accountable for the decisions made. But the wise leader also covets the counsel of a trusted mentor and the input of valued associates. The broader the base of quality input, the better that the final decision will be. 

Some may view this is as a sign of weakness; a lack of confidence; or a lack of competence.  In fact, the opposite is true.  When you recognize your own limitations and the value of input, you make superior decisions.  The issue is not the quantity of comments that contribute to the decision but rather the issue is the quality of the decision.

If you already have a mentor, you know what I am talking about.  If not, I urge you to explore your options.  Here are some suggestions worth consideration.

1.     Find someone in your industry in another geographic area whose business is a success.  Develop a relationship that allows both of you to share experiences and offer opinions and support.
2.     Contact speakers/consultants who appear at industry events who have impressed you.  Interview them to determine your level of comfort with their ability to communicate with you on a one to one basis.
3.     Connect with former associates with whom you developed a level of trust and confidence.
4.     Search out blogs that speak to your industry and consider contacting the authors for input.
5.     Use your Chamber of Commerce to source potential mentors whose experiences may not be in your field but who have been successful in their own right.

Clearly these represent only a few options.  The issue is that you find someone whom you trust and with whom you are willing to be open to the point of being vulnerable.  You want someone who is strong enough to be supportive and critical at the same time without you taking personal offence at that which you don’t care to hear.  The goal is to be better and that may not come without some polishing.

Over time you will grow.  Your decision making process and your decisions will improve.  And you will find yourself in a position to mentor others. Pay it forward!

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