Technology is great isn’t it? It allows us to interact with people from around the globe, to share ideas and instantly know the news of the day. It automates processes and allows for more value-added work to occur. However, it also keeps us from talking to the person seated next to us on the plane and creates the ability to hide behind Instagram photos when there is pain, sorrow or simply a need for someone to talk to. How often do we opt for a text message over calling because it is quicker? How many of those interactions are we missing because we are consumed with our phones? Unfortunately, the world we live in does not favor leaders due to the following short comings of our current culture:
- Automated processes: Technology is impacting the work we do, who performs it and the skills that are required to do it. Due to automation, leaders today need to be capable of upskilling teams and being visionary about what is to come. Leaders of the future will manage thought leaders instead of the day to day, which will become automated, and will be managing processes they have never performed themselves. However, since technology is transforming at such a rapid pace, it is difficult for today’s leaders to fully grasp how to prepare themselves and their teams for the future. And therein lies the trouble.
- Disconnected digital relationships: As more millennials become leaders, we are seeing the rise of a digital society with people gaining power through their digital relationships. There is greatness in that social network – the ability to collaborate, share ideas and to influence – however, true relationships that leaders must form should be with more than a Twitter handle. These casually engaged relationships easily hide true feelings, experiences and hardships that we need to understand as leaders. If we do not have practice coaching others through these situations, are you going to be prepared to do the same with your teams?
- Selfie culture: In 2018, 93 million selfies were taken each day. This inward focus can lead to many lost opportunities to engage learn and serve others. Once a selfie is taken, it leaves out all the beauty around you. The picture does not capture your environment and the family sitting across the table; and it does not allow those around you to help take the picture. How many make it their personal mission to serve all those selfie-takers by asking if you could take the picture for them? A mark of a great leader is one who seeks to lift people up every day to make them better, expand their horizons and remove barriers to success. Great leaders are not inwardly focused, isolated people.
If these three things are not brought into check, they could lead to detachment from reality, a lack of empathy for others and superficial surface relationships. We are already finding it in many ways in our cultures today. There is a greater lack of love for thy neighbor, and appreciation for life, and the beauty this world can offer. All of this leads to a world of qualities that are not the traits of amazing leaders.
Calling All Leaders
No matter your role, your position in life, or whether you are a people manager, procurement needs now more than ever for great leaders to take on the new challenges in this world. It starts with your ability to define what type of person you want to be, how you want to impact this world for the better and how you will develop to get there.
“We must set intentions for who we are, for what roles we wish to serve, for how we’ll relate with the world. Without a vibrant awareness, we cannot connect with others or ourselves, nor can we meet the demands of the hour with grace.” – Brendon Burchard
The last part of this quote says it all, “how are you going to meet the demands of the hour with grace?” Almost four years ago, I was inspired to define my purpose as a leader and was on a mission to do everything I could to become that person; not for me but for my team. And, it was such a blessing that I did, as a tragic event occurred in Las Vegas about two years later. As a leader, I never expected that I would need to meet the demands of the hour; not knowing who lost their life or who was injured the night before. Whose mother, daughter, friend, father was impacted by such a senseless act. The morning following the tragedy, through preparation and divine intervention, I knew I just needed to be the first one in the building to give each of our team members a hug. And, through that simple act, it gave comfort, a shoulder to cry on, built trust and provided an opportunity to morn together. You never know what the day will bring. However, without defining who you want to be, it will be harder to meet the hour with grace and lead.
To define your leadership type, there are many choices to make about the values you cherish and live intentionally day to day.
- Victim or victor: Are you a victim or a victor of your circumstances? You get to choose this every day – in every situation. Is something being done to you or are you going to tackle that opportunity and learn something from it? Are you going to have personal accountability?
- Life by default or design: Do you live your life by default or design? This comes down to the choices we make daily. Are you defaulting, meandering through life allowing it to dictate how you react or come to the table? Or do you practice conscious choice-making in which you are the master of your ship, designing your path?
- Provide and receive feedback: Are you willing to learn from every situation and give feedback to others just as freely? Every interaction and experience is an opportunity to provide feedback to yourself and learn from that situation. It is also an opportunity to provide feedback to others to help them grow.
- Supervisor or influencer: Are you a leader who supervises to gain control or one who influences to drive accountability and growth? For those with children, this is like when you have a baby: You can control them by telling them what to do and what not to do. As they get older, that approach causes friction and is ineffective for both parties. Your ability to transition into influence to drive accountability is key.
- Better today versus yesterday: Are you striving to live today better than yesterday and inspire your team to do the same? Are you developing yourself so you can develop your team? Are you delegating work or instead of looking at those opportunities as ways to develop others?
The point is to define who you want to be and focus on getting there; not only for yourself, but for everyone around you. It is all about living each day with intention. When you live each day this way, you become the example and the light for others. You start having high expectations of the same from others and they start living these values. That is the legacy that you leave. These are the kind of leaders we need in procurement in today’s detached world and well into the future.