Independence Day is upon us in the United States and many will celebrate with fireworks, social gatherings and plenty of barbecued food. It is a joyous time as we honor those who helped create a country of freedom and choice. Along with having the many opportunities, comes a great deal of responsibility and expectation. We need to be open to different points of view and be willing to hear all sides of an issue before declaring our stand. But what is most fascinating about this process is that once you actually behave this way, it becomes a way of life naturally.
This week I had the opportunity to speak with an extraordinary young leader who shared their passionate journey of how they arrived at their current job and career. The leader began their education and first job in a very artsy industry but ended up in a start-up. There were also a few crazy sales jobs in between that helped them to develop marketing skills that eventually led them to their present dynamic position. The trials and challenges brought us laughter and connection. Some of the leader’s choices worked out better than others, but in each situation, the individual was always willing to grow and try new things.
One of the toughest challenges for leaders is not looking over their shoulders to see what everyone else is doing. There seem to be so many overachievers on our teams and in our work worlds who can respond more quickly or communicate more loudly than we will ever be able to do. It can really grate on our nerves to constantly be worrying that a colleague or co-worker will come up with a better solution for an internal or external customer. But aren’t we all supposed to be in this together? So why does it feel like we are judging our success on how others perform?
Why can’t we lead without comparing? We can if
In the United States we celebrate our independence on July 4th. Being independent can mean many things depending on your leadership perspective. It can mean following through on your most passionate dream or making a decision that works for you only. It could call on your need to spend some alone time to regroup or attend a program that has a topic fascinating just to you.
Whatever independence means to you, one thing is for sure- an independent leader is an authentic leader.
This past week I had conversations with two extraordinary leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. Both are sales reps and both are very successful for an important reason- their vision of leadership. For some leaders in sales their focus is about sharing the benefits and advantages of their product or service. They can’t wait to espouse the amazing attributes of what they are selling and jump in right away with that conversation. But these two pharmaceutical sales reps looked at their mission very differently.
“What a great team of sales reps we have!” one said. “I feel so lucky to have a manager who cares and sees my value.”