* This email dialogue between myself and a younger leader is posted with permission.
On Aug 4, 2011, at 7:42 PM a friend of mine wrote:
Ok… so what’s the deal w/ people who out rank me putting me as the last priority? Maybe I need to be knocked down a few rungs (you’re welcome to do so if that’s the case) but since our leader has stepped down, I’m one of the most visible people in the org. and yet I’m out of the loop. I made a meeting with our new executive interim consultant dude to talk about the transition time & how my role can be most effective toward our goals. He was all about it over email, but when the appointment came, he didn’t show. Not communication was made for forty-five minutes after our scheduled start and when it finally came it was, “we’ll have to reschedule”.
This isn’t an isolated issue for me. I think I remember telling you about a few interviews that went like that. It seems to happen often where I wait for them (sr. leaders), hoping to get a word in. I’ve even gotten out (of the office) with them for coffee or something, and they’ll get a call that they double booked from some incompetent assistant, and you know who get’s the shaft? Me. Not their assistant, or the person back at the office. I’m sick of being told by the actions of people more accomplished than me that I am not important enough to them to sit and talk to for as little as 15 minutes. Especially when I know damn well I’m way more important than that, personally and professionally to this organization.
Is it just how it is for my place in life? Or, is there a way to get their attention? I’m not necessarily asking for the face time. A text at the time of the appointment so I don’t sit on my ass for 45 minutes would have made me so happy. Is that too much to ask? ugh.
On Aug 5, 2011, at 7:09 PM, Ryan Russell wrote:
I thought if I made you wait a whole day that would help (knock you down a rung or two). j/k
Here’s the deal… very, very few people think intentionally about the people below them on the org chart. Unfortunately, they are always thinking about the people in ‘power’ positions and those above them. Oddly they forget that good/great leadership means that you respect and lead well those who are following you, not just positioning or posturing for those above you. And during times of transition, turmoil and stress… people become their truest selves.
Sounds like this interim consultant guy cares most about making money and being available to those who he perceives matter. He is playing politics not just leading.
Here’s your role: lead people well. Always do your best for those who you are leading. As hard as it is (and it is VERY hard, ask me and I will be the first to admit that I have struggled with this) you should focus on maintaining your attitude and serving your best. Always be available to make a difference. Cast vision. Encourage the members of the organization. Remain prayerful. But, more than anything… don’t stop leading. Develop more and more people around you. Make investments.
I read a great quote the other day from George Marshal (leading military commander of his time)… roughly it said, “The infantry need leaders. Officers need to lead themselves.” Translation = look for leadership where ever you can get it, but at the end of the day you need to lead yourself well and those who are counting on you.
On Aug 6, 2011, at 12:44 PM a friend of mine wrote:
Thanks for that. The “your role” is just what I’m needing. Appreciate u bro.
Certainly there is something to draw out of this email exchange for both senior leaders and younger leaders. I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger and was blessed to have some patient, but no-nonsense leaders above me. Equally though, there are some leaders in ‘position’ above others who forget that they are there to exemplify good leader, not just play the power game and posture for others.