A Leader Convinces Others to Let Go of the Past and Focus on the Future
Executive Vice President, Scheidt & Bachmann USA
Leaders are defined by their ability to inspire and coach others to perform at their best and to succeed around common goals. Leaders also understand the importance of putting together the best team possible, including a small camp of trusted advisors who can cover their blind spots. They should also exude self-confidence and possess the ability to adapt proactively, deliver reliably, maintain accessibility to the team, and make decisions with conviction.
Most great organizations and teams have both leaders and managers. Leaders are more often focused on strategies that will yield future successes. They tend to ask more questions and gain more followers by being inspirational and motivational in their approach. Managers are typically more tactical in their approach, applying a narrower focus on specific results. They tend to give explicit directions from a position of authority in order to push a team towards desired goals and outcomes.
Specific to 2022, I see some of the biggest challenges around the lingering hangover in the U.S. economy from the rippling impacts of the COVID pandemic. As a leader you must keep everyone around you assured that we are on the path to recovery – including both staff and customers. Convince others to let go of the past, focus on what is in front of us, control the things that we can, and to feel confident making decisions again.
Titles mean very little on their own. The true measure of a leader is how they treat others and how they find a way to bring out the best of those around them. More important than possessing a leadership title are your skills, your results, and your ability to take action. The best way it was ever explained to me is that “titles should confirm leadership, but they can never bestow it.”
I have a great appreciation for several historical figures from the early-to-mid 1900s. One in particular that stands out is Chester W. Nimitz, who became the Navy’s Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stepping into the role immediately following a tremendous calamity, Nimitz led his troops to victory by forming a team of trusted advisors to devise a winning strategy and implement it. That is certainly someone I would want to work alongside.
People that have worked with me in the past know that I expect three things of my team – candor, kindness, and hard work. However, those qualities are just the price of membership. The most successful teams that I have been a part of also had strong trust, full participation, timely and open communication, dedication to common goals, and with everyone “owning their space” as well as the outcomes.
People might laugh, but my dream job would be a starter on a golf course. Aside from the obvious perks and low stress, a great starter still should have leadership qualities. Think about it – you get individuals ready to head out on their own and face the challenges before them. You give them advice on how to play the course, check that they have the right information to navigate the course, and encourage them when it’s time to step into the box and drive the ball down straight down the fairway.
Finally, I start each day with a sense of gratitude for both the blessings and the challenges from the prior day – as both teach valuable lessons. This is usually accomplished during my morning run which provides a great opportunity for introspective thinking. I reflect upon the actions that lead to either outcome. I take time to consider areas for improvement while also finding acceptance for things outside of my control. By the end of my run, I am recharged and ready to make the most of my new day. //
Bill Geraghty is Executive Vice President, Scheidt & Bachmann USA