Recently I heard the following phrase.
“My role is to help you succeed.”
I’ve been playing it over and over in my head.
In its simplicity is incredible profoundness. My role. You. Success. Much as a wine connoisseur will hold a sip of wine to allow the flavors to manifest on the palate, I’m doing the mental equivalent with this statement. What is success? What does it mean to help one succeed? How can I make a difference?
To explore the profoundness of this simple statement and understand why it keeps reverberating in my head, I’d like to share my mental gymnastics around a particular leadership model that I favor, consisting of three parts: alignment, results, and action.
Alignment is the confluence of personal values and goals with those of the organization. Success here could be defined as the self-discovery of one’s values; as finding a balance between one’s personal values and those of the organization; as finding a different organization in which the values are aligned with the individual.
Results are the tangible outcomes sought that add value. Success here could be defined in terms of producing outcomes with meaningful impact, the performance of which can be measured.
Actions are the activities undertaken with a purpose. Success here could be defined in terms of clear decision-making and undertaking meaningful and timely action, where everyone on the team contributes from his/her source of strength.
So, where have I ended up after all this “wine tasting”? It’s this: as a leader, I draw the greatest amount of satisfaction by helping others succeed in finding alignment, achieving compelling results, and taking meaningful action. This brings me to the Buchan quote at the top: “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” It’s about the leader being a catalyst, a guide, a motivator. And that is what I gained from this foray in “wine tasting.”
What is your view of the role of a leader?