Posted by Meg Bear on June 23, 2009
I mentioned last week about reading the book the Leadership Pipeline. When thinking about the phases of leadership outlined in this book, and the values and traits that are required at each level, I’ve had a few moments of pause.
Frankly, there has been some internal cringing as I am reminded of Michael Scott -worthy behavior I have exhibited. Then there was the realization about how lucky I have been.
Sorry, for those who were looking for entertainment in this post, today I want to talk more about those career gifts I was given that I didn’t recognize at the time.
The first falls under a category I think of as micro-coaching. The feedback you are given informally, often as just a passing comment, that makes you think and helps you grow.
My best example of micro-coaching was from a colleague and good friend (we’ll call him Max) who helped get me promoted to my first Vice President role.
I was complaining to Max about the extra workload and wondering if I was going to be able to do the job. He explained to me that the nature of the job was that there was always going to be more work than time and that my job would be to decide which things got done and which things did not.
At the time I thought he was crazy, now I realize this was exactly my blind spot. If I had not shifted my perspective on this topic, I would never have been able to scale as the job required. I will not say that the change came easily, but it helped a lot to be pointed in the right direction.
My other big career gift, was when I got a job that stripped me of all my technical resources. I was put in charge of a development team, who worked in a technology I did not know myself. While, at the time, this was terrifying, it has proven to be one of the biggest career gifts I was ever given. Being required to learn to manage people to do tasks I had no ability to do myself, gave me so many great tools. When you cannot take a task on yourself, you value the skills of your team so much more and you have no choice but to learn to delegate to the appropriate level.
Both of these career gifts are powerful since their value is about perspective. At the time I would have described the events so differently, but today I see them as seminal to my professional development.
What career gifts have you given to others? What have you received yourself? How do you view them differently today than you did when you got them?
I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped show me the way in my career so far, and for those of you who are still helping me today. These gifts are the ones I cherish forever.