It's election time in NZ, and the country has just voted on who will govern and lead our country for the next 3 years. I love a good election campaign, hearing about policies and promises, studying peoples behaviour, (sometimes cringey, sometimes powerful) and it got me thinking....
What if we ran general elections for leadership in our organisations? What if instead of the 'once a leader, always a leader' mentality, every year your team got to cast a vote for whether or not you got back in? (No doubt you immediately thought of other people and thought 'well I know who I wouldn't vote for!', and then maybe, just maybe, you thought 'Would I get back in?... and perhaps you squirmed just a little...)
Would you be able to stand up and say "The people have spoken and given me a clear mandate to lead!" or would you get pushed to the back benches, or worse, not get back in at all?
When I was working in organisations, I used to hear all the time "I don't know how she even got to a leadership role, she's a terrible leader" or "You're so lucky to work for him, he's a great leader - I wish my leader was more like him' or worse case, people vote with their feet and leave.
When you become a leader that people want to 'vote' for, it often comes down to 3 things:
Belief, Belonging, and Behaviour.
You Believe. In your purpose, your people and in yourself, and you build belief that people can see and feel.
You Belong. You know where you fit and the people you help, and you build a sense of belonging in your team. They want to go on this ride with you.
You Behave. Your behaviour is authentic, values based, and in alignment with with your beliefs.
When these 3 things are aligned and in place, it leads to greater connection, contribution and confidence, and you become the leader that people will get behind and 'vote' for.
1 Learning: Leadership is a privilege, not a right. We should never take it for granted.
1 Opportunity: When was the last time you, as a leader, checked in on these three areas?
What do I truly believe in? What do I stand for? What do I not stand for? and am I true to this?
Do I build a sense of belonging in my team? Do I know where I fit, the role I play and the people that I help? Are we connected?
How do I behave when I am at work, or under pressure, or communicating with my team? Is it aligned to my values, and what the organisation values? Is my behaviour congruent with my beliefs?
1 Action: Think about your 1 minute pitch. What would your closing statement be to your team before they cast their vote?
And of course, once re-elected, you need to stay true to your promise, and deliver on it!