When my colleague and friend, Helen, described how her role model taught her how to embrace her role as a leader, I was reminded of a similar journey that I took. Something that was not in any manager training.
Seemingly “little” decisions that a manager and a leader makes often have life changing implications that ultimately alter the course of entire families, far beyond the business impact that it makes. For example, let’s look at the case of John (not his real name). When I nominated and supported him to lead a global project years ago, little did I know the impact on his life that it would make. The role relocated him from Manila to San Francisco, where he was able to demonstrate how great he was to an entirely different set of people. More importantly, the relocation offered changes (for better or worse) in so many other aspects of his life — a new partner from a different culture, a new dog, new friends, and many other new experiences. Basically, a whole new lifestyle.
For myself, the extra time and effort that Mike Brown spent convincing me to join Uber vs a fast food firm changed the course of my life and that of my family. I do not know where I would be today otherwise, and I am forever grateful. Over the years, I have reflected on the impact of decisions and actions I make as a leader on the lives of others. Supporting someone who has a whole family for a relocation could mean that the person’s kids will have different childhoods in new schools and cultures. Or it could mean offering the chance for that person to try a new function that could lead to a career shift. On the flip side, being a bad manager which causes a person to leave means that I robbed that person of the great things that our firm may have to offer.
If you have the privilege of being a manager and a leader to a group of people, embrace the awesome responsibilities that are bestowed upon you. The role goes beyond any training on how to conduct 1on1s, how to provide feedback, or how to set goals. Look beyond purely the business impact and focus on the overall impact that it would have on the team member’s personal and professional life.
It’s an awesome, yet scary, set of responsibilities.