Leadership is a marathon, not a sprint!

It’s a long haul. And it begins and ends with you. And your competency to ensure that the organisation attains and sustains success amidst the only constant: change.

So what are some of those key competencies needed en route?

  • The ability to see and retain the big picture. The context. And to dance with it. 24/7.
  • The energy to orient and mobilize stakeholders. Across the organisation. Across the industry. Across the globe.
  • The courage to give constructive feedback. Immediately. When and where and if appropriate. Including to yourself.

I worked with a client who was identified as having potential for leadership. When they heard this, they bolted. In their mind, they were a manager. Not a leader. My client did not believe that leadership was where they could make a contribution. So I was called in to support a strengths-finding process.

My client’s talent profile told a different story. Relating was their strength. Constantly checking the big picture. The context with all its components and challenges. They were intrigued how various elements related to and impacted each other.

My client was also very much a people person. They took psychological ownership for ensuring everyone was on board. Intuitively, they knew when to challenge perspectives and when to leave perspectives alone. People came to them for advice. They respected them. They valued their input.

Why had my client bolted? What was it about leadership that triggered this spontaneous reaction?

It did not take us long to identify the issue. My client saw leadership as something for sprinters. People with a track record for tangible achievements. Over and over again. For my client, leadership was the domain of competitors. Where winning was the name of the game. For them, long-distance runners – like themself – did not qualify for leadership positions.

When we reviewed their achievements to date, my client was quite suprised with the outcome. They were the one who had predicted a dramatic change in the market. They were the one who had successfully oriented the key players in the organisation when it came to turn the situation around. And they were the one who had insisted on the urgency of the situation and had been heard.

Because the leadership competencies which they commanded were second nature to them, my client totally missed the tangible implications for the organisation.

Today, my client not only holds a leadership position but is consciously living leadership. They now also mentor “marathon runners“ like themself in the organization. Supporting these young talents in transitioning into leadership positions across the organization.

How is your organization supporting the developent of natural talents? In particular, marathon runners!

When was the last time you reviewed your own leadership competencies? And, indeed, how you are dancing with them!

It takes two to tango. You and your talents. Especially on the leadership front.

 photograph:  © lassedesignen / Fotolia.

By |2017-04-11T19:18:19-04:00January 18th, 2017|Talents|0 Comments

About the Author:

Honor Cooper-Kovács, the owner of tackt, has over 30 years experience working with business executives in international companies across Europe. Honor’s focus lies in supporting leaders to build on strengths, capitalise on differences and foster collaboration. If this is your first visit to the Triggering Excellence in Leadership blog, make sure to get a free copy of my Core Article on the 5 Best Practices to Trigger Excellence in Leadership.