As I welcome the fall weather to the upper Midwest it strikes me that there are seasons to leadership as well. Each year the world goes through a series of phases reflected in spring, summer, fall and winter. As leaders we go through similar phases, over our career and even within a year.
The phases we encounter on a regular basis are:
Beginnings: This may be a new project, a new position or a new team member. In any of these situations the leader must help nurture the new growth in people and in them. This phase requires more time and attention because it is important to set the proper tone from the start.
Growth: During this busy stage, the team has come together and things are starting to roll. During this phase it is important for the leader to keep tabs on what is going on. Making sure people are focused on the right things, learning and developing their skills, and getting results. High energy is needed to keep everything moving forward properly and each person is growing successfully.
Maturity: This phase is best represented by high performance and well established teams. People are growing into their potential and things are going well. At this point leaders become more of a guide to help keep people on track. For the leader things can actually become quieter and easier as the team acts more independently. Now is a time to enjoy the rewards of developing others.
Renewal: There is a phase in the leadership cycle where the leader has an opportunity to take a break and recharge. This is a really important phase to recharge and regroup before a new beginning. Possibly this is handled with a vacation where the leader gets away from it all to recharge their energy.
Each season has a purpose in the life cycle of leadership. We would do well to remember that each phase is normal and a natural part of a leader’s growth. Take the time to recognize which phase you are in. Adapt your leadership approach to suit the particular phase and take advantage of the opportunities that each offer.
There is a reason and a time for every phase so focus on how the phase you are in right now will help you grow. Look at the needs of your team and give them the leader they need for the phase they are currently in.
How do you celebrate the various leadership seasons?