I’m a Pioneering Leader. When I say that, I sit up tall, like I’m in a covered wagon on Little House on the Prairie, leading the way to some new, undiscovered place. Except for the bonnet, the image pleases me.
But it’s 2011, and I’m not in a covered wagon; I’m a Vice President who leads a team of people whose jobs include planning events for our customers, and promoting those events.
So when we recently sat down to brainstorm ideas for promoting an upcoming event, I had several ideas, and was excited to rally the gang and drive towards my goal. The Pioneering voice in my head was enthusiastically telling me, “Let’s do something different and get this job done!”
But as I looked around the table, I knew that if I shared my ideas first, no one else would speak up. And I’ve been working with these people for several years, and I know they have great ideas—I just have to be quiet so they can have the time and space to share them.
And brainstorm, they did. They had some pretty creative ideas! This is what we landed on…
It worked! It caught people’s attention, and we had lots of registrations for our event after the postcard was mailed. One customer emailed me to tell me how funny the postcard was. When I told her the team came up with the idea, not me, she told me that a good leader doesn’t always drive. It was a terrific reminder that effective leadership doesn’t always mean coming up with ideas, or even implementing them. Sometimes, being an effective leader means getting out of the way.
Me, the Pioneering Leader, get out of the way? Not easy, but it definitely leads to great ideas. Maybe I need to stay in my covered wagon more often!
Are you a Pioneering Leader that “got out of the way?” What happened?
Do you work with a Pioneering Leader who “got out of the way?” What happened from your perspective?