Career – Pick a Boss, not a Job
Choosing a leader, not a job, is one of the most important things you can do for your career. I know that sounds easier said than done, but I wholeheartedly believe in what John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.”
This means that your career rise or fall can be based on your own self-guidance and the guidance of those you are connected with. Think about it for a moment. Did you notice something that was different when you worked for a great leader? Did you feel like you could fly? Skip tall buildings? Do almost anything?
Great leaders recognize and use your strengths and potential in ways that give you the courage and confidence to try new things and quickly learn from your mistakes.
There are tons of reasons why you should choose your leaders wisely, but here are the 5 main criteria for choosing a leader that I have found most effective for my career.
They believe in you
I have broken new ground several times in my career. These were new things that either I had never done or the company had never tried. Great leaders give you the courage to put one foot in front of the other while staring at ambiguity and fear. They let you know that fear is not the end, but the beginning of courage, learning, and understanding. If you have a leader who will allow you to deal with ambiguities, they will build a strong competitive advantage in you.
They enable you to strengthen the innovation and intuition muscle by asking the question “What if?”.
They invest in you
One of the best leaders I’ve ever worked for has been someone who has always invested in me personally and professionally. In fact, I never left her office without a book, article, or something that would enhance my leadership skills and potential. As I look back on this time in my life, I think about how they taught me to be a listener and how I can invest in others I lead.
Listening, hearing, understanding, and investing in others should be one of our highest calling in life as a leader.
They inspire and challenge you
Great leaders bring out the best version of you. When a leader is positive and enthusiastic about what you bring to the team it creates an amazing dynamic where you actually begin to face the image they see in you. You start to believe in yourself more. This enables you to take risks, try new things, and step out of your comfort zone.
Let’s be honest You only experience growth during times when you are uncomfortable and feel the pressures that come with change.
They trust and empower you
“Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life.” This is one of my favorite David Horseger quotes from The Trust Edge. He adds, “The rewards for trust can really be extraordinary. Expectations and trust motivate teams to make sacrifices and master great challenges. ”I think that’s true. I’ve spoken to countless people who say, “I would do better if they trust me.” I think they really believe that. Something happens when someone is trusted and they know it. This is where you will see them begin to face the situation and do more than they ever thought possible. I even have some employees who are starting to over-deliver, exceeding everything. Why?
Trust makes people become owner and not order recipients
They are honest with you
The best leaders in my life were the ones who trained me and told me how to get better. They didn’t sneak around me trying to be nice and kind or avoid conflict. Jack Welch writes extensively about “openness” in his book Winning. He says that people need to be told what they are doing well and how they can improve. I agree your team shouldn’t have to guess. They should know where they stand and how they are doing. A leader has this conversation a lot, so there are no questions.
The most important thing you can do as a leader is tell your co-workers how to improve and help them uncover blind spots that could hurt them later.
If you were wondering “what if”, then maybe in your career it is time to choose a leader, not a job. I promise you that unfortunately they will leave you much faster than they found you and that will make all the difference in your life.
If you’ve never had a great leader as a boss, it’s up to you to become that leader for others.