Don't Walk Alone

How young directors are changing the boardroom.

To lead is to coach; to win you must have the right players on the team.

As the leader, you are never a solitary sojourner. Therefore, on your leadership journey, don’t walk alone.

Leadership requires followership. To create followership, you must meet people where they are. To lead is to make an emotional connection on a very real and human level in every interaction. As a leader, you must commit to meeting the needs of those who follow. Think shepherd: occasionally in front, sometimes beside but mostly behind.

Direction plus time are the primal elements of measurement that must be part of every leadership journey. This is not measured in months and miles, but rather in milestones—celebrating each achievement along the way, turning discouragement into encouragement, the mundane into the miraculous.

Here’s how you become a more effective leader when you don’t walk alone:

  • Without the talent, there is no performance. Think like a coach, drafting players who fit the offense for today as well as for tomorrow. In other words, pick people who can evolve with the organization’s strategic direction, but also fit the reality and culture of today.
  • Understand that people want to know that they belong, that they matter. They want to contribute to something that is bigger than themselves—something with purpose and meaning, that makes the journey worthwhile. When you say to your team, “Your contribution makes a difference” and “You are important,” what you’re really saying is “you are loved.” Showing your respect and appreciation to the team is transformational.
  • As the leader, you are tasked with the job of melding individual self-interests into a kinetic force for good, to advance the overarching goals of the organization, community, or even society as a whole. Then self-interest is elevated to the point of morphing into selflessness, and a common commitment to the greater purpose of the journey.