“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” ~ Greek Proverb
Whether you realize it or not, there is a question that guides you every day as a leader. This question determines in large part what you see and what you fail to see, what you respond to and what you ignore, and how you measure your effectiveness as a leader.
Although many guiding questions are possible, I have found these three to be the most common in my work with leaders. I believe each one reflects the primary developmental stage of the leader…i.e. the question that dominates your attention most of the time usually points to the developmental stage you are in as a leader.
Which of these three questions dominates your leadership?
1. The Good Leader asks: What is the problem and how do I solve it?
Whoever said leadership is primarily about solving problems was probably a Good Leader. This is the leader who spends most of his energy every day identifying problems and creating solutions for them. His dominate bias is to look for what’s wrong, what’s not working, and what’s broken, and leverage his skill to set things right.
2. The Great Leader asks: What do I want to create?
Where the Good Leader’s bias is to look for what what’s wrong, the Great Leader’s bias is to look for what’s possible. She engages leadership as an act of creativity, of making something new that wasn’t there before, and while she is not blind to problems or obstacles that get in her way, she’s more likely to engage them as opportunities to be leveraged rather than something that needs to be “fixed.” Where the Good Leader is primarily reactive, the Great Leader is primarily proactive. She spends most of her time advancing her vision, not putting out fires.
3. The Transformational Leader asks: What are we here to do in service of the world?
The Transformational Leader has moved beyond ego and stepped into a larger story of meaningful service to the world. He is still proactive about making a vision real, but the vision itself is no longer about him. He is no longer the point. WE are the point. It’s no longer his vision alone. It’s OUR vision, and it’s a vision that’s in service of the world in a meaningful way. The Transformational Leader brings all the skills of a Good Leader and a Great Leader to bear in his work, but spends most of his energy every day focused on the question that most motivates him: What are here to do in service of the world TODAY?
So, which question most often guides your leadership? What might happen if you started asking the second two questions more often? How would your leadership change?
Why not give it a test, and find out?