“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa
Reaching the C-suite engenders much self-reflection. What are the characteristics needed to effectively lead organizations? How does one incorporate ones’ own personal style, communications strategy, decision-making processes to address the unique challenges of the organization? Is there a “right way” to become a successful C-suite leader?
Being the founder and owner of a boutique development company, I found myself in a quandary about all the issues above. What constitutes a “leader?” Stakeholders are aware that the company brand is usually synonymous with the personality of the founder. Communications; decision-making; employee interaction; management approach, that “vision” thing; would all be clearly set by the founder. It is the unstated expectation that success in the chief executive role requires emulating the characteristics and qualities of the founding leader.
What is wrong with this picture?
Success as a leader comes in all forms and styles; much as no two individuals will ever be completely alike. The only true definition of a “leader” is that the individual be capable about bringing positive change to a situation. The two key elements of this definition are: (1) POSITIVE and (2) CHANGE. Bringing about POSITIVE CHANGE can result from a myriad of ways, each one unique to the individual. In this definition there is not just one way to be a leader; rather, it is based on the unique attributes of each individual. Uncovering one’s own unique style and celebrating it is both liberating and energy-generating and results in one’s own brand and style of leadership. Remember, the definition is not the “how” of being a leader; rather it is the “result” in bringing about positive change to the situation.
Committing yourself to this definition can also change your whole perspective of others on your organizational team. Anyone and everyone can be a leader since they can each bring about positive change when offered the opportunities to do so. Providing the guidance and a set of achievable goals for each member’s role in the organization makes both the organization and the individual share in success. Seeing others as leaders in their own right can shift the paradigm of the manager/worker relationship and increase employee loyalty and commitment to the organization.
Leadership comes as a result of both individual effort and the interrelationships in creating the environment to bring about positive change. Understanding yourself first allows you to celebrate who you are as you take on challenges to being about positive change within the context of your environment. You develop your own unique style to make things happen. That is a true LEADER.