This is part one of a two-part article. The second installation will be published on June 7, 2010.
This post is for leaders — from students to mid-level managers like me — dealing with workaday problems. It is about the importance of seeking mentoring to inspire you. It is for people who have been frustrated for so long, they may have forgotten how to reset the Attitude button and release themselves from suffocating intellectually.
For weeks, I wrestled with some turbulent leadership learning opportunities. It seemed at every turn, the reality of our progress was subdued by a few key colleagues’ ability to make it seem like failure. As a result, I was, by definition, “stuck.” Folks in my Accountability Group worried openly about me, and my usual laid-back demeanor was wound tight.
I faced more than a reasonable number of issues in which I felt compromised, undermined, or simply overruled, even though I was responsible for setting and leading a team in accomplishing objectives.
I started last week with the belief that none of the grinding, intense work I — and numerous other staff — were putting in was netting us enough productivity or, to be frank, appreciation. In the last year or two, our business unit has undergone extraordinary change, from who sits in each proverbial seat on the bus, to how we manage our business processes and track productivity, to how we assess what success looks like. We went from a larger staff to a smaller one as we launched major new initiatives. We went from young guns anxious to correct the boss to young guns being bosses. My self-congratulatory takeaway is that progress and change, and both measuring and sharing productivity, are fearsome threats to the ineffective and unfocused among us.
At any rate, a couple days ago, my outlook changed. Why? I had lunch with a person I admire and respect deeply, and who is one of the most intelligent leaders I know. I shall query him and question him, and call him AL. This meeting was like getting an iPad for Father’s Day when all you rightly and happily expected was a card; it was a huge treat. Continue reading