In last week’s post, Leadership Development isn’t a spare time activity we asked some tough questions about how you prioritize your development as a leader. How did you answer these questions?
I’m worried about your leadership development. Granted the best lessons are learned while doing but leaving your development to chance can land you in the unprepared bin and minimize your opportunities for growth.
One of the things that makes you a great leader is the intense caring you have for the people you are leading. One of the unfortunate byproducts of this rare success trait is that you can easily fall into the trap of giving so much to others that you justify not caring for yourself. I call this The Mom and Dad Syndrome.
The Mom and Dad Syndrome is quite simple. Servant leadership implies the deep caring about the development of your team. You know we preach that here. The Mom and Dad Syndrome just takes this a bit too far. A mother or father will do anything for their child. They will stay up all night. They’ll give the child the food off their plate. They’ll forgo a shower so they can keep an eye on their child. They’ll drive all over town to provide the best for their kid. Finding the best school for your child is a huge priority. A parent will even take a bullet for their child. Exercise, diet, stress balance, and personal development – the things that actually make for a better parent – can easily take a back seat. It’s human nature to care first for our children.
I see this play out in a corporate setting all the time. Emerging leaders participating in an educational program complain that they just don’t have the time to spend on their own development as a leader. Listen carefully, “I don’t have 30 minutes to spend on my own development. Of course, I would be better at what I’m doing as a leader if I invested this time, but I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing instead. I’m busy.” Really? Does this make any sense?
There’s a reason that flight attendants tell us to put our oxygen masks on first before assisting our friends, family and seatmates. You have to be alive in order to save others.
You have to be improving each day as a leader in order to keep your organization alive.
- Prioritize your development plan as high as the development plan of each of your people and as high as any task on your list.
- Work with your boss to clarify these priorities.
- Do something each day to take in new insights relative to you as a leader. Watch a video online, read an article, participate in a discussion with peers.
Photo credit: orchidgalore