I Am Not a Boss or a Leader; I Am an Enabler
I have been around the block far more times than I would like to count. I have been led, and I have led. And I have come to realize that neither will make you truly successful.
Leading organizations large or small does not mean you are successful. It means you played the game well enough to be allowed to guide at least a small part of its outcome.
In my youth, I was promoted to Corporal in the U.S. Army; by the Army’s legal definition, I was a leader. I was responsible for the health and welfare of my men, and I was also responsible for ensuring they would charge a machine-gun nest if required. Talk
That type of leadership is predicated on showing those you lead how you require things to happen and then fine-tuning their performance of what you have precisely modeled. But that style of leadership belongs in the Army and other such organizations with
very exacting but limited goals.
Another style of leadership, if you can call it that, is being The Boss, which is just plain wrong. The Boss is constantly in transmit mode, telling others what to do and how to do it or else. This type of Boss, by a better definition, is a (B)ig (O)bnoxious
(S)illy (S)h&^. Unlike leadership in military training, The Boss leaves all possibility of growth of people on the floor and stomps on it.
When I transitioned out of the military and into the private sector, I knew I wanted to retain that emphasis on growth and high achievement in those that I was leading. That is why I chose to be an “Enabler” rather than The Boss.
Not everyone can work with an enabler; notice how I said work with. Enablers require that you grow within the environment they create or you have to leave; that part does not change. What does change with an Enabler is the creation of an environment of possibilities
created around your team.
Good mistakes are encouraged, and they are collectively avoided in the future. No one is held back nor pushed forward. Innovation is everywhere and collectively improved upon, and it’s a rewarding work environment for individuals excited about innovation
and latitude to experiment.
In short, a leader shows, The Boss tells, and an Enabler allows you to fly.
So what are you? An enabler, perhaps?