Why are so many leaders burned out in their work or feel drained throughout the day? What I have found in coaching these executives over the years is they are mostly involved in management discussions disguised as leadership discussions. Leaders are not energized by management conversations. They are energized by leadership conversations. Discussions around elevating people. Developing, resourcing, and releasing people and other leaders to do greater things in the organization. Leaders are energized with strategic planning, development of new ideas and innovative solutions to challenges they face. They fly high when they talk about vision and purpose.
So many leaders, however, are caught in the trap of management conversations. Discussions about better efficiencies, and refinement of processes. Managers naturally talk about how to get the most from their workforce and resources. While these are important conversations, they just don’t float the boat as it were for most leaders. This is why we are seeing so many leaders deflated at the end of the day instead of fired up. This is why we are seeing so many organizations with little to no real inventiveness or creative spark. There is no vision. There is no pursuit of developing purpose in the people of the organization. Only a focus on the bottom line. Yes, a business needs to make a profit if it is to stay in business. But, if your vision for your business or organization is to just make money, you need a better vision.
A bigger vision.
One that is so compelling that it keeps you up at night thinking about how you will accomplish it. When’s the last time you came into work really fired up about the idea of making your shareholders more money? Do you think your staff and employees are fired up about that idea? You already know the answer.
think of a time...
Think of a time when you were fired up about pursuing a compelling vision. A noble purpose. How was your energy level going into that situation? How was the energy level of the team or staff around you? Were you successful at what you were trying to accomplish? Did you come up with innovative and creative solutions to your challenges? I am pretty confident that people were elevated in that process. Profit and growth were likely results of such a pursuit as well.
This goes back to the conversations leaders are involved in. Management conversations will ask, How can we improve our processes and efficiencies so we can make more money? Leadership conversations will ask, How can we develop our people and create a culture of innovation so we achieve more of our vision? Both questions are valid. Each question focuses on a different purpose. Leaders get more fired up about the latter question. They also know that if they focus on the right purpose, the profits will come. So why do we get so wrapped up in management conversations?
It might be that we focus on visible results as an indicator of success. It might be that our culture is focused on the short-term, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset. It might be that the ones in charge of the top leadership in the organization are driven more by rules and results than vision and purpose.
We need visionary leaders supported by great management to see true success and growth in our people and organizations. Without vision and purpose, people wander. They lose focus. They lose hope. With vision and purpose, people come together. With a compelling vision and a noble purpose, people are united. They will achieve great things.
Imagine your team united in purpose beyond their job. Imagine your people giving their best work toward a noble purpose that fulfills them, moves the organization forward and also makes a profit. Imagine department leaders not focused on “making their numbers” so they can get a bonus at the expense of other departments and teams, but instead working for the betterment of the organization as a whole and benefiting from everyone’s success. Yes, this sound utopian, but it is possible to a large degree if this is the culture you are creating. If the top leadership embraces and promotes this kind of mindset and vision, it will permeate the organization over time.
The choice is yours. Continue in the same management conversations that do little to stir your imagination and passion and unite your teams or engage in leadership conversations that will encourage, inspire, and ignite your team’s passion and creativity and take your organization to a new level.