Doing less and being more

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If you’re striving to work your way up the corporate ladder and you currently love what you do – beware! The more responsibility and people you take on into your employ, the less you should be “doing” the daily work. In fact, its not a bad idea to consider whether “doing less” is something that you really want in your career.

As managers become leaders, they need do more “being” and less “doing” of the work that needs to be done by others. You can’t possibly take on more responsibility for the larger number of employees that come with a move up the ladder and still do everything you’ve been doing. Realistically, with each step of the ladder you have to give up more and take on some new ways of being.

In fact, that’s hard. Especially if you love the daily work. So what will you be replacing your “doing” with? In order to be effective at higher levels of the corporate ladder you need to take on increasingly more:

Being relational because without relationships, you can’t do what you really need to do as a leader: influence others and make an impact on them and the business. You can no longer rely on just yourself, you need others around you to support you, do the work, represent the best interests of the business, and move forward. If you think you can do this alone, you will fail in leadership. Get out there and spend lots of time getting to know others and helping them. They will be in your corner if you do.

Setting and communicating a vision for your organization because if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there? Organizational leaders often have some direction about the vision, but they need to spend time creating a picture that gets more specific so that others can have full understanding of the road ahead. This sets the stage for you and them to communicate that vision succinctly, over and over again, and in more ways than you might think  in order for all stakeholders to understand their role in it.

Using your intuition because the answers and facts aren’t always present in order to make an informed decision. A great example is leading people (which you will do more of as you climb). They aren’t just a bundle of numbers and facts that help you to decide whether to trust them, know what work they are good at, or even when to let them go. But you do have intuition, which calls upon your brain and your heart to work together to put together pieces of the people puzzle that fit together to help you decide what kind of work they are best at, whether you can trust them, and when to let them know that they can’t stay any longer.

Taking time to develop yourself and others so that everyone, you included, are working at the top of your game. Part of your way of being is to figure out who you are, what kind of leader you are now and what kind of leader you want to be in the future. What are the gaps? That is the place where you need to spend time developing yourself to be the best you can be and model it for others. You also need to spend time and effort helping your employees to develop. Developing yourself and others is a big part of being a leader.

As you move up the corporate ladder, you must do less “doing” and more “being” a leader. Make sure that is what you want before you climb!

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.