Monday, January 29, 2018

Observations on Leadership



“Everything rises and falls on Leadership.” ~ John C. Maxwell

In less than six months, I will be assuming a new leadership role, that will consist of 2 one-year terms, at our synagogue.  When I talked about goals, laser like focus, etc., this upcoming point in my life sits on my mind.  To be honest, I am excited about the journey and looking forward to the opportunity to do good things, however, I am nervous about being (for lack of a better term) “the guy.”  While I have led projects over the past 20 years and have been involved in this organization for several years, this will truly be the first time that, as the quote famously attributed to Harry S Truman goes, “The buck stops here” will apply to me.  I have, of course, been reading on the topic of leadership and taken the time to observe others. 

Below are some of the things I have come to realize:

  • Leadership is not about me; leadership is about us.  This should not be about a personal dictatorship, but needs to strive to meet the goals of the organization and the people involved (membership, etc.).
  • I might sit at the head seat; I might lead, but, leading an organization is a group thing.  There should never be a point where I do everything, especially on my own.  There is the old adage that begins, “it takes a village to…”  We all succeed / fail as a group. 
  • Failure lies with me; successes lie with the team.
  • It is important to lead with a team:
    • Provides mentorship / transition
    • Peter Drucker was a proponent of a Management Committee – if one person is down for the count, there is someone else there to step in.  Continuity is also assured.

  • Decisions are not about what I decide and what I want, more of, this is what we decide and what we want.
  • I go and you follow is a misconception of leadership.  As John C. Maxwell has pointed out, if you take the hill and no one goes with you, all you have done is go for a hike.

At the end of the day, I know that this role will help me to grow / develop as a person, and a worthwhile opportunity.  This is a chance to learn how to get better at building bridges, making connections, remembering to include others, and, fostering a sense of community.  These are the real tasks involved in leading.  Managing budgets and costs are things that are familiar to me (for that matter, to any Project Manager, or, corporate budget holder).  I look forward to the journey ahead and for all it will offer (positive and negative), and, of course, look forward to sharing insights along the way and glad for receiving any feedback.