If you want to be a more effective leader, stop leading in isolation. You may think that because you walk the floors of your business, get down in the trenches with your employees, and surround yourself with a great team whose input you appreciate, you are not leading in isolation.
But unless you are working with and listening to leaders who are not part of your organization, you are in fact leading in isolation. When you think about it, it is really a conceited way to lead.
I don’t need the input of others
All of the excuses that keep you from working with or listening to others, like, “They don’t know my business,” and “I don’t have time for that” are saying the same thing – others have nothing to offer me that is worth my time (or money).
We should all be so wonderful
Here are a few reasons why working with or listening to others outside of your own organization can indeed be worth your time (and money).
- You need to be a jack-of-all-trades. As the article at Inc. entitled Why Your New Primary Concern is to Become a Jack-of-all-Trades points out, you need to master something, but being a jack-of-all-trades is crucial. The problem is, finding time to learn a little about a lot can be challenging. When you work with or listen to others outside of your organization, you can pick up a lot of knowledge from their experience without having to go through it yourself.
- You need to rid yourself of toxic energy. An article entitled How to Free Yourself From Toxic Situations That Are Bringing You Down lists some of the typical stuff you’d expect to find like “practice yoga”, but it also includes 3 items that smack of working with or listening to others outside of your organization, including 1) Make fewer decisions, 2) Write down the specifics of productive habits. And 3) Seek out for challenging environments you have no experience with. All three of these things are made possible through working with others.
- You need both discipline and motivation. In Which is Better: Discipline or Motivation, the author writes that on an on-going basis, “motivation is what’s needed to get up-and-running. But, discipline is needed to stay on the right course.” Working with others outside of your organization can provide both.
6 options for working with others
If you are a leader, here are 6 options or working with other leaders outside of your organization and to stop leading in isolation.
- Join and actively participate in a business networking organization, even if you don’t anticipate gaining sales referrals from it, which is the main point of these groups. Regardless, you can learn a great deal from the way others lead, particularly if you form smaller power groups with other members of the larger networking group.
- Take occasional classes, courses, or training with other leaders outside of your organization. Plan Canvas founder Jon Umstead ascertains that one of the most valuable things about his Executive MBA experience was listening to all of the other leaders in the room discussing the same topic but from different points of view and industries.
- Join a local entrepreneurs’ group or club, even if your business is beyond startup mode. Free groups like the Dayton Tech Guide offer multiple learning, networking, and panel discussion opportunities regardless of the life-cycle stage of your business.
- Join a mastermind / peer group. These groups are a great way to help others as well as get help with your own challenges. They are built on two premises: 1) It’s lonely at the top and 2) None of us is as smart as all of us.
- Assemble an advisory board. It doesn’t have to be made up of superstars and name-brand leaders. If you aren’t sure who should be on your advisory board, interview/ask several people for their thoughts. Create a laundry list of potential candidates. Don’t load it up with like-minded people who are just going to glad-hand your every idea.
- Join the board of a non-profit or someone else’s advisory board. The purpose should be genuine – you want to help, and you want to learn from others. It is painfully obvious when someone joins out of ego, to build a resume, or to get sales referrals.
Something to consider
Jon is building an online version of a mastermind group that plans to meet monthly, in the evenings, utilizing his experience running an in-person group. The online option creates opportunity for a more geographically diverse team, without requiring any travel time for members. It includes a subscription to the Plan Canvas software.