Recently I added some CrossFit elements to my fitness routine. While I know you envision me crushing a workout like the guys on the CrossFit Games, I usually find myself struggling to the point of making deals with God to become the next Mother Teresa if He will just help me survive!
In fitness, progress happens when you consistently try to lift more weight. This forces growth to happen. Conversely, one of the most frustrating things is attempting to progress in weight only to struggle or fail.
I have noticed a similar frustration among many young leaders. So many are driven to progress as quickly as possible, only to wonder why they can’t move faster. While I admire this drive and welcome it on my team, I see discouragement settle into these leaders. In an attempt to provide some relief, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself as you strive to be given more responsibility and authority in your space.
1. What kind of leadership system am I in?
I know, I know, “system” feels like such a political and dirty word. Heck, maybe it is. Either way, it is reality. The system that you find yourself working in is one of the two major players in how much responsibility you will be given and how quickly.
Your culture determines your future.
Do other young leaders in your organization get promoted quickly?
How long are they on staff before they start seeing some traction?
Is there a value on young leadership?
The answers to these questions should help shape the expectations for yourself.
Find a young leader who moved up the ranks quickly and interview them. Take them to lunch and find out the attributes that helped them along the way. This gives you a clear picture of what is valued in your organization.
Here is a good tool to help you identify the culture you are in.
Once you figure out the system you work in it sets you free to either work that system or find another one to work in.
2. What kind of impression does my leadership make?
The single most important thing you can realize about leadership is the power of your “impression.” Yes, your leadership leaves an impression. While you cannot control the environment you work in, you can determine what type of leader you are going to be.
Why do some people execute better than anyone else on your team, yet never get promoted? How can one leader grow a strong team, but struggle to be recognized for it?
Do you have more passion than anyone else on your staff, yet no one seems to care?
A negative leadership impression outweighs great motives and impressive results.
What are you building a reputation as?
Tell me, which of those groupings would you rather give a seat at the head table to?