Developing Leadership Character:
Responsibility and Courage Lead to a New Profit Center
Ed is an executive in an established information technology firm. Was loved by his people, but saw himself as a “loyal follower” who did as he was told.
Integrity: Ed’s integrity was unquestioned. People saw him as honest, principled, and completely trustworthy.
Respect: Ed treated others, especially those he led, with great Respect and his empathy made it easy for others to communicate with him openly. He would get input from others and find ways to implement their ideas. When Ed had to make presentations, he would frequently have those who reported to him make the presentation, often with him present, so that they were brought into the limelight. He was humble, and never tried to take credit for himself only. He excelled emotional mastery. He didn’t let anxiety or unreasonable anger get his way. If a mistake was made, Ed did not look for someone to blame; rather, he used the experience as a way for everyone, including himself, to learn from it.
Responsibility: Ed had a good deal of work to do on some of the qualities that contribute to Responsibility. While he saw himself as accountable for anything within his area, he did not see himself as personally responsible for the success of the company as a whole, did he see himself as able to impact the entire company. He tended focus on his area, even though he was interested in the success of whole company and kept up with industry trends. Though he was moderately confident, his most severe lack was courage. Ed had never taken the initiative to do something that would benefit the entire organization because he didn’t want to risk displeasing his boss.
Moving Forward: Ed got excited about developing his leadership about not waiting for his boss to take the lead, but GOING FIRST himself to do the things that would help build the business. He decided to approach an issue as if he were the president of the company and organized a group of his peers across the company. Created a cross-functional team that began to identify things within the company they could impact as a group. The group developed idea for a technology center that would be a boon to the business whole, garnered support for the idea with all the key people, and made it happen together. As he became involved in this project, he began inspiring his direct reports to take initiative and go beyond what they had thought they could do. He gave them a sense of common goals and showed them what they could do without up-front management support and despite challenges and obstacles. Ed realized what a tremendous amount of power and influence he had. He had always focused before on what he couldn’t do. Now focused on what he could do. His view of himself as a leader changed. He was an analytical, technical person who didn’t see himself as a charismatic, people person. He was amazed to discover how much power he had to motivate and inspire others.