When your job keeps you busier than you’d like to be, it’s not the cost of leadership development that discourages you. It’s the time! Even as you recognize how much more there is to learn about influencing others, you can’t see making it a priority right now—not with all those work urgencies screaming for attention.
Let’s unpack that argument with the help of a scene from one of my favorite movies.
Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman co-star in a fact-based comedy about the 1987 NFL player’s strike. Hackman, as coach Jimmy McGinty, assembles a motley crew of replacement players for the Washington Sentinals who overcome all odds and rack up a string of seemingly impossible victories. His quarterback Shane Falco (played by Reeves) is the most questionable recruit of all. His last appearance on the gridiron as a college senior was a disgraceful performance resulting in his team’s demise in the Sugar Bowl.
In one poignant scene, Reeves and Hackman are tossing a football as they stand alone in the middle of Sentinal Stadium. Reflecting on their partnership Reeves is moved to ask, “Why me, coach? Of all the quarterbacks you could have chosen, why me?” Hackman responds, “I look at you and I see two men—the man you are and the man you ought to be. One of these days those two men will meet, and that should make for a helluva football game.”
Were Jimmy McGinty talking to you rather than Shane Falco he might say, “I look at you and I see two leaders—the leader you are and the leader you ought to be. One of these days those two leaders are going to meet, and that should make for an amazing outcome!”
So what are top ten “amazing” outcomes of better leadership?
10. You’ll become more indispensible and promotable as your ever increasing value is noticed and admired by higher ups.
9. Your boss will look good as someone who has groomed a most worthy successor.
8. The bottom line measures of your team and therefore your company will grow through the improved results of your better-led direct reports.
7. You’ll become more influential and less frustrated by resistance and insubordination.
6. You’ll have a far more unified team committed to each other’s success.
5. Employees will become more engaged and more committed to your vision.
4. You can’t help but also become a better parent, spouse, sibling, friend, follower, and coworker—and bottom-line, a better person.
3. You’ll buy your life back as you learn to develop your people more fully and delegate further to them in smarter ways.
2. You’ll have a lot more fun as you discover that leadership does not have to be so painful.
…and the best reason to become a better leader is that…
1. People will want to follow you!
If you long for outcomes like these, say so in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll suggest a way to make them happen, all the while managing the load you carry.