Taking the Appropriate Action
As a leader, you need many different kinds of people. Often, problems arise when you're not certain how to engage and disengage with the people around you. I've found it helpful to interact with people by determining whether this is someone who I can assist with their leadership growth, someone who can grow alongside me, or someone who will help me to develop my leadership potential. We engage each of these people differently.
Reach down to those we can assist.
A leader is someone who shares what they've learned with others. They use their own growth to help others to grow; they purposefully mentor others. When we grow others, we are also growing ourselves. A leader does three things: they know, they grow and they show. Knowing means getting information. By using the information you acquire, you grow and develop yourself. That alone doesn't make you a leader. You have to show someone else what you know to be a leader. Giving away what you've learned sounds odd. Why would you share your hard-earned secrets with someone else? Because you never lose by giving away power; the best use of power is empowering others. When you empower someone else, you've made a friend for life.
Reach out to those who are where you are presently.
If both of our companies have 100 trucks, we can commiserate about our troubles and rejoice in our successes. During this conversation between peers, you are both learning from the other person's experience. You may not be adding a lot of value to them and they may not be adding a lot of value to you. You're just experiencing cohesiveness, camaraderie, and collegiality by being transparent with each other.
Reach up to those who are where you want to be.
It's important that we also get assistance from those who are where we want to be. Put yourself in environments that let these people recognize who you are, and let them know that you'd like to benefit from their knowledge and experience. It's this last category that can be somewhat painful. That's because you have to disengage with people who have brought you where you are in order to engage with the people who can take you up. If you've been spending time with a new group, you don't have the time to devote to the people you used to see. If you were with people who ran small companies and now your company is growing, you're busy engaging with people running other growing companies.
Disengaging from people is difficult, it's painful, and it's messy. It's painful, because you really care about these people and may not want to disengage. It's painful, because you realize that unless you disengage, you'll never be able to have the time to engage new people. It's also painful, because you realize that you may never see these different groups together because their worlds and realities are so different. It's painful, because the people that you're disengaging from will not be able to understand why you've disengaged from them. It's painful all the way around. But remember, unless you are willing to endure these pains, your own growth as a leader will be limited. Leaders only grow to the threshold of their pain.
(Taken in part from: What's Shakin' Your Ladder? by Dr. Sam Chand)