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Leadership: To Be Or Not To Be Promoted, That Is Only One Question
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"So, J.," said my higher-up, the Grander Puba, "you seem a little reluctant to assume the role of the Grand Puba."

I know what you are thinking, who wouldn't want to assume the role of Grand Puba? It has a regal sound to it, certainly it must be an increase in authority over more staff, and it likely would mean an increase in salary and benefits. Well let me tell you, after 20+ years of successful senior leadership and entrepreneurial posts, I am aware of the effort that taking on any new charges can be. You see, I consider myself a servant leader, and as such, any added staff to be responsible for means more staff to serve. The question of whether or not to take a post has very little to do with what's in if for me, but rather what do I have to offer the organization and people I will serve. The real question is: Do I have the will and commitment to use myself up in that capacity.

I nodded my head in agreement, "Yes," I responded. "I am a bit reluctant. Not because I am not flattered, because I am. It is not even a question of whether or not I believe that I could handle the position, but rather do I have the will to accept the position."

My Grander Puba looked at me quizzically.

I am afraid I may have come off a bit conceded. "You see," I continue, "If I say yes then I am accepting everything that comes with the position. I am assuming responsibility for all the people that report to this position. I take this responsibility very seriously. I know that if I accept the role, I will work tirelessly to satisfy their needs."

"Well," responded the Grander Puba, "It doesn't have to be that way. You merely do the best that you can, and we will be satisfied with that."

I nodded, "Yes, you may be satisfied with that's not how I work. If I assume the role, I assume responsibility for all of everyone's needs. Those needs may be human needs in the form of accountability and support, they may be financial needs in terms of fair pay and benefits, and they may be physical needs in regards to space and equipment. If I take the role, I have to be willing to sacrifice my time and energy for them"

The Grander Puba shook their head, "I am not asking you to baby these people. I am asking you to lead them."

"I understand, and I am not saying that I will blindly pursue every whim that is presented to me, but that is part of the equation. I have a finite amount of time and energy to use on this planet. I have to be sure that I am spending it wisely. I want to be sure that I do not assume more responsibility than I can fulfill. I have to balance this against my needs, both personal and familial."

"Familial?" pondered the Grander Puba.

"Like in family. I have a wife and kids. I have to be sure that I do not shortchange them in my decision. I love them and want to have energy and time to spend with them too."

The Grander Puba nodded. His face indicated that he was assessing his own family needs given his current position.

"I have needs too," I went on after a momentary pause. "I have to be sure that I am able to fulfill those needs as well. I like to exercise and I need a bit of time for creative outlets," I added after getting a what-are-you-talking-about-look.

"Ah, yes," Grander Puba said quickly.

"As a servant leader, I am devoted to my staff. I have to be sure that the job, the people, and the organization are aligned with my moral compass."

"Are they?" He asked intently.

"I wouldn't be working for you now if they weren't," I said. "The company's mission matches mine, the job is within my skill set, and the people, you, and your boss, the Grandest Puba are all in relative alignment regarding our direction. I am a servant leader, but I don't expect us to be in total agreement on every detail."

"So are you going to take it?" he asked.

"I would like some time to reflect on it," I answered. "If you need an answer now, then no. I will not be rushed, but if you give me a week to think about it, discuss it with my family, and really ponder it, then I promise to give it some real attention. I want this to be a successful leadership choice for me."

The Grander Puba seemed satisfied with my answer. "Okay. I will talk to you in about a week. If you need more time after that, then that can probably be arranged. You just let me know."

"Okay," I answered. "I will." I already knew what I hoped my answer to be.

Thanks for reading.

Street Talk

Is there ever a time when you would put these ideals on hold?

  about 1 decade ago
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