Redefining Leadership Success:
In Search of Meaning

Defining-Leadership-SuccessWhat makes for leadership success? How should we define and measure it? What makes us truly proud to do what we do?

Throughout the economic upheavals and rapidly changing global market place of the last decade, I’ve noticed an emerging desire. No matter the industry, no matter their age or gender or field, people want to do work that has a positive impact and provides meaning and fulfillment. More than higher salaries, promotions and status, they seek to contribute and make a difference in the world — and it’s not just the young and idealistic Millennials.

As older professionals approach the end of their careers, they feel ever more strongly the urge to make a difference. No one wants to exit a career wondering if it was worth it all. As well, I hear from mid-career people that they want the second half of their work to matter more.

How do you do that and still have leadership success? How do you go about ensuring that the work you do on a daily basis has a positive impact and contributes to making the world a better place? Many of the people I talk to in my work as a leadership coach struggle with balancing the demands of work, people, schedules, and fire-fighting. Some tell me there’s little time for introspection or big-picture planning.

Managing the Boundaries

For all our technological and time-saving advantages, we struggle to get it all done. In some ways, this is understandable since the more we can do, the more we think we should do. In the beginning of the Industrial Age, workers were limited by the rising and setting of the sun, as well as by the turning of seasons. Not so anymore. The new workforce must set their own boundaries, when to work, where, and how to get things done. Many more possibilities, many more choices.

But the problem of more choices is the difficulty in making the best choices, of prioritizing the right things so that the end of the day, your work matters. Digital freedom comes with a price, and 24/7 connectivity can lead to a new kind of slavery.

It’s interesting that at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, innovators are inventing devices that integrate much of our digital input and allow us to choose which to respond to, and when to disconnect entirely.  But we are the only ones that can set our own boundaries and decide what’s important to respond to.

What’s Your Definition of Success?

The ever-increasing demand for better productivity, if left unchecked, will stress and fragment our lives, destroying any chance of making a difference and contributing meaning through our careers. Before we know it, we wake up retired. Will you be able to say it was worth it? Will you be able to point out where you had a positive impact?

What are you going to do today to make a difference, because days are all we have. I’d love to hear your experience; contact me and let’s talk. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.

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