Chapter 6: Leadership Style
When she saw Jack next, she was eager to share her ideas with him. She had really put some time and thought into the assignment.
“Hello, Scarlett. How are you? How have your two weeks been?”
“Overall the two weeks have been good. I struggled in the beginning to create a vision, but when I finally sat down to do it, I enjoyed it. It was very interesting because I know a lot of the vision in my mind, but writing it down made it so much more real.”
“Tell me what you wrote for each of the timeframes, and what stuck out for you as you did it,” Jack said.
“Well the 10-year plan is that I want to be running for office – either for city council or county board. By that point, I also want to be married with three kids and have a house in the country. For five years, I want to be partner with a solid book of business and be married with one kid, considering the move to the country. For one year, I want to make partner, and be dating the right guy.”
“Ok, so what I heard is that becoming partner is the first step and then becoming a local politician. But it seems like you have fleshed out your personal life as well.”
“Yes. I’ve had so many disappointments in that arena for a long time that I didn’t want to focus on it and be disappointed again, but I realize that just like I can change relationships at work, I can also change them outside of work.”
“Great. Let’s get into details about the style of leader and partner you want to be. What would it feel like to be the leader and partner that you want to be?”
“Well it would feel like I am serving others to increase their wealth, their family fortune and their ability to create the life they want. I do this with my clients and I now want to do that for my employees/colleagues. I want to push people to be the best they can be, and that is the type of relationship I want to be in as well – one where we grow as individuals.”
“So you want to empower others to really grow into the people they are meant to be like you do with your clients and their finances. That is great. Knowing that vision is the first step in beginning to create it. Having people around you who believe in that vision and want to be a part of it is the next step. That is the sign of a great leader—having followers, leveraging their strengths, and really creating the environment for other people to grow. As for a romantic partner, the clearer you are on what type of person you want to be with, the more able you will be to know when you meet that type of person.”
“This visioning exercise really has helped me put detail around what I want to accomplish personally and professionally. I’m realizing that to be the leader I really need to be, I need to help mentor my junior colleagues become who I know they can be. How do I continue to grow and become that leader I want to be?”
“Well there are a couple of things I want you to concentrate on for the next couple of weeks. One is to continue building trust with your subordinates. Share your vision with them of growing this business so that they have a better idea of how to align with your goals and grow with you. This will be an exercise on seeing whether you are creating a compelling enough vision for them to want to follow you and if they are the right people to help in creating your vision. You will also begin to see whether Melissa truly can step up into the vision that you are creating given the performance questions you have been having about her.”
Scarlett felt a little vulnerable. What if her team wasn’t on board with her vision?
“This is where it is critical to break out your vision into more detail. Split your next year’s vision into quarterly, weekly, and daily tasks so that you can meet your one-, five-, and 10-year goals. Share this with your team and encourage their feedback so they feel part of the process. The more that they feel invested in your vision—making it their vision, too—the more they will want to help you make it become a reality. They will feel that their work also has a purpose, and it will fuel them to want to do even more. I would also ask that you speak to Melissa about her performance now and see whether she truly is invested here.”
“The other thing I want you to do is start setting up some lunches with your colleagues at your level. I want you to start getting to know them better so that you can build alliances and trust with them. At some point you may need each other, so it’s important to get to know them so that you can move in the right direction together.”
Scarlett’s stomach suddenly sank. “Jack, I’m a little apprehensive about this assignment. First I am scared that Melissa and I won’t be aligned and I will have to get rid of the 10th admin in three years. Also because this is a pretty competitive firm, I’m pretty hesitant to share too much with my colleagues. I certainly don’t want them to use anything they learn about me against me.” Scarlett hoped Jack understood, and didn’t think she was paranoid. She had heard too many stories however to know she wasn’t wrong about this.
“This is the time to find out about Melissa and see if she is the right person for you team. If not I can help you hire more effectively next time. As for your colleagues I’m not saying to share everything with them,” Jack clarified. “Just get to understand who they are and where they came from so that you can relate to them better. How do you feel about that?”
“I see your point. I’m still not entirely sure that in our environment it’s the right move, but since the last assignment you gave me worked so well, I’m going to trust you.” She knew that of all people he would understand the most how much progress that represented. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”
“Great. I will see you in two weeks, but if you need me in the meantime, just call or e-mail,” he said reassuringly.
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.