One of the lessons that I’ve happily learned (and that I’m still learning, to be fair) is the importance of stepping back as a leader, and welcoming the joy that comes from the recognition of others, rather than the joy that comes from the recognition of self.
I believe I’ve made great strides in this area, and while I know that I still have much learning to do, I’m happy to say that I now take just as much pleasure from seeing what others accomplish, as celebrating what I, myself, succeed in.
Part of this move for me has been the realization that helping others make connections is a part of my role that I relish, and both a challenging and gratifying part of my daily work. I’ve realized that I’m truly a relational leader, and the relationships I form, and that I help others form empowers the work that I do.
So, when an opportunity arose for a colleague in my agency to do something that would truly benefit his work, and I had an opportunity to turn it over to him to let him take the reins, it was great to hear him reflect so positively on the experience.
This led me to wonder about whether the “positive vibes” we feel when we succeed are dwarfed by the positive vibes we feel when others are successful and we’ve helped them get there with truly altruistic intentions.
And I think that’s the case, at least for me.
As I’ve gained experience as a leader, and become more comfortable in my own leadership skin, so to speak, I’ve come to the understanding that all the success I achieve and all the good feelings it brings will always be dwarfed by how I feel when others enjoy themselves and see success due to support that I’ve provided (whether out in front, or off to the side).
Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to set rigorous goals for my own success. But, I’m gladdened by the fact that the success of others, and the recognition they receive, is empowering for me. It’s great to know that I can provide a brick and take joy in the houses that others build without having to feel like I have to build the house myself.
And that’s a leadership lens I can be proud of.