[October 28, 2013] A frequent question asked is: “What is the most challenging part of a senior leader’s job?”
Most believe that dealing with the impact of America’s unstable economic situation, overwhelming organizational bureaucracy, or working with insufferable government agencies unfamiliar with the leader’s organization would the challenge. While these are a bit demanding, they are not the biggest concern because they do not determine the organization’s future.
The most challenging part is helping developing junior leaders and setting the groundwork for their organization far into the future.
The development of junior leaders is the greatest focus – more so than those in middle management or mid-leader jobs. Senior leaders should be setting conditions of success for those junior leaders by providing the right education and experience. Certainly, this involves teaching, mentoring, and coaching – the emphasis is on teaching them how to be the best leaders.
While most senior leaders are looking 3 to 5 years in the future, and this is undoubtedly important, a senior leader should find time to also look 5 to 20 years out. What justifies our existence and what relevance will we have 20 years from now, matters a great deal.
How does the senior leader go from worrying about the day-to-day bureaucracy to a concern about the future 20 years hence?
The answer is in the study of success, the strength of quality leadership, and the passion of the leader.