Being a leader as a profession and…as a choice

Bathing in the L&D world at the ATD in Denver makes you feel rich, humble and looking for the why. What’s driving our industry? Why are we doing? Do we enjoy our profession because we like it ourselves or do we do our job to contribute and support organizations? Or is it both? At least there is a strong connection between high performing organizations and having learning initiatives aligned with strategy. 71% of high performing organizations have such a strong connection. Those organizations manage that all employees seek, share and apply new knowledge and skills. Budget is sufficient. High performing organizations have a dedicated learning function based on connections (connect people, connect ideas, everybody is a student and a teacher), curation (learning at work, curated within the context of a person) and continuity (the business in an organization wants its crucial functions covered by teaching employees to perform).
Going back to the why question. Why does learning work? Simon Sinek is probably the most famous expert on the ‘why’ (how, what) question.

The why on leadership. What does it mean? 
We are social human beings. When you get the environment right, people will do right. And the other way around as well. We have the ability to work together. Trust and cooperation are the key elements. We choose to feel safe and stay away from danger. Feeling safe in your organizations and giving the best of yourself, easily and freely. That’s what leadership is about.

But how about the value of metrics? Is leadership not about achieving your goals? Metrics helps us to count our pace. But what is the problem in organizations: they don’t define the destination of that pace. Or they don’t make it smart. “The biggest”, “the best” or “the nicest” aren’t imaginable. A good destination is what you can see and imagine, then it’s a great vision. A goal for example is 26.2 miles. A vision is a crystal clear sense on how the future looks like. Not knowing how to get there. The why: A vision you’re working towards. You don’t have to have a vision. But it is your responsibility to find a vision. All of the work will contribute to what you do. And if your managers or colleagues can’t pronounce it: help them.

Leadership is a choice. Leadership is a daily practise. It’s not about being in charge but taking care of the people whom are in your charge. You stand up and the risks are real.

Doing this leadership job really well needs training. Everyday. Most of the time this excercising will not show any outcomes immediately. It will take more than a week and it has to take less than a year, so Simon Sinek says. However, over time the effects will show. Leadership is the willingness to know what people’s interest is to do things. It needs consistency and intensity.

Rick de Rijk, directeur
Gooiconsult Gooiconsult

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