In a world in which people seem unable to stop fighting over power, an ever-changing leadership model doesn’t seem quite popular. What if I told you that you shouldn’t be dreaming of remaining in the same role you are now for more than 10 years? Or that at least that role is not meant to look the same 10 years from now if you do remain in it?
Along with generational change, comes the need for consistently renewing leadership positions. With new generations come new ideas, new creativity, new strategy and even a new atmosphere. Transitional leadership is all about change, but not simply the type of change that replaces and disposes what seems obsolete, but the type of change that continually develops towards a better future.
Never stop expanding
In his book “21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader”, John Maxwell mentions teachability as a key quality of excellent leaders and recognises that such quality has way more to do with attitude than it does with capacity or skill. Maxwell describes teachability as “the hunger to discover and grow… the willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn”. A healthy leadership is one that never stops expanding, that never stops learning both from its own mistakes and the mistakes of others, it is a leadership that always tries to be better, not better than others, but better than itself.
It would be very disappointing to see that in a period of 5 years all the employees of a company continue to work in the same position they had at the very beginning. This could mean two things, either the workers are not putting enough effort in developing and improving to be able to take on more or a higher level of responsibility, or the leadership is not recognising the need for transitions in the company. As a worker, there is nothing more frustrating than getting to the point where your job does not represent a challenge anymore, where everything simply seems like a routine and where you wish your boss would see how much more you are willing to contribute in different areas if you were only given the opportunity to do so.
I volunteer in a church in which it is amazing to see how leadership transitions. The staff is usually given more than enough opportunity to grow in their current role and once they have clearly reached the next level, they are given a bigger role, and if such position doesn’t exist in the organisation, they have no problem in creating it.
Giving someone else the opportunity
Security is another one of the indispensable qualities Maxwell mentions in leadership. It is funny to think that an incredible amount of confidence and security is needed in order to let someone else have a shot at what you do. One of the most common reasons leaders don’t want to give others the chance to contribute is fear of finding out that someone else also has brilliant ideas for the company, which can even be better than previous ones. But in that case the company can only win, for you have found someone who can add new value to the organisation, and at the same time you can release yourself from an area and start investing into another one. Great leaders are not the ones who can do everything, but are those who are able to recognise the gold in their people and use it to make sure everything is done with excellence whether it is through them or others.
Learning to let go
Someone once told me that if you desperately hold on to what you have now, it is because you have little faith that something better is waiting for you in the future. Letting go is hard, because once you have become comfortable at what you do, you can easily start thinking that your value lays in your position. Knowing everything about your job makes you look and feel important and letting go of that position involves going back to a place of uncertainty and challenge, in which obviously there is much more room for mistakes than in your previous shelter of self-confidence. Great leaders understand that their value does not come from what they do, and therefore they walk confidently or even scared into their next steps knowing that just like life itself, the working place is a place of growth and a consistent journey of development.
By learning to let go of the old, you also make more space for the new, for new challenges, new connections, new skills and new accomplishments.
So how do you find transitional leadership? Is it hard for you to let go of what you have in your hands? Let us know!