Leadership Isn’t Just About Being the Boss


A young associate advisor early in their career who is far from a partner role can still be a leader at their firm. Leadership isn’t just about being the boss. An effective leader is self-aware, humble, and willing to be vulnerable. Today, let’s focus on the “self-aware” component.

Leaders, of course, empower their team members to take ownership of their role. They teach the wisdom and mindsets their experience has developed. And, they provide opportunities for people to try new things and step up to new responsibilities or roles. In short, leaders create an environment where team members can do and give their best.

The not so obvious thing leaders do is understand their own strengths and those of their team members. This awareness is essential because our natural way of operating can have an impact on others’ perceptions and motivations, and become barriers to teamwork.

Knowing Your Own Strengths And Your Teammates’ Strengths = Success

To illustrate, let’s take Mary and Jim. Mary is at her best when brainstorming. Jim is at his best when driving the completion of a project. While Mary expounds brilliantly on new ways to move a project, Jim may perceive she is not happy with all the work he has done on the project, or that his work on the project just isn’t that important. If Jim responds by redirecting the conversation to the current status of project, Mary may perceive Jim doesn’t “like” or “get” her ideas, or that he is stubborn or not listening. All of this can happen no matter how good their intentions are and no matter how aligned they are on the ultimate results.

Let’s say both Jim and Mary came into this conversation with the awareness that he is instinctively driven by completion and that Mary gets energized on ideation.

Here are two ways this could go:

  1. Instead of redirecting, Jim would acknowledge Mary’s good ideas and ask her how they might incorporate these ideas without taking the project offtrack or delaying its completion.

  2. Mary would have started the conversation by asking Jim how he’s coming along on his project and offer to brainstorm with him if he’s encountering obstacles.

When you know your own strengths and those of your teammates, this allows you to help others do what they do best, and that ultimately helps you do what you do best.

You see, it doesn’t matter which is the junior of the two. In both cases, each of them comes into the conversation with the awareness of their respective strengths and the intention to leverage their synergy. That’s a leadership formula for success. 1 +1 = 10.

Join Us September 29 for our Online Kolbe Workshop

Now take this from theory into action and start with your own self-awareness. Learn what YOU need to be at YOUR best. Take the Kolbe A™ Index by going to Qii’s Kolbe Resources page. It’s quick and fun and you can access the assessment at Qii’s wholesale cost. Then, learn how to apply this knowledge during the Kolbe Workshop at the Professional Development Showcase sponsored by the FPA of Greater Phoenix on September 29, 2020. The Kolbe workshop is one of four you can choose from, including Brand Strategy Development, Introduction to Dynamic Governance, and Advocacy in Action. If you’re a NexGen member, you get the screaming deal of $50!

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