Leadership presence…

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Sheryl Sandberg

My very first boss and mentor once told me that it is the number one responsibility of a leader to ensure that they never need to be indispensable in order for the team to be successful.

In fact, a leader should do everything they can to coach, train, and empower those that they serve so that their individual presence isn’t a requirement for operational success but is instead an additive factor for strategic success.

How do you know if you are delivering on this key leadership premise?

I have found that the types of questions you ask, and that your team members ask you, to be an excellent barometer of success for a leader.

First, are the questions you are asking meant to direct or manage the operational efforts of your team members or are they meant to help them grow in their capabilities? Do you ask more open-ended questions or closed yes/no questions?

Second, Are the questions your team members are asking seeking permission or insight? Are they asking questions on what or how to do something or are they asking for perspective and input on their own thoughts and ideas? If they are asking permission based questions then your presence will be required for ongoing success and that is a recipe for leadership failure.

If you are leading effectively, then you don’t need to be physically present all the time for the right things to happen and for the right decisions to be made. Your leadership influence is presence enough…

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