Last week I read an article in the news about pumpkin spice and my video of September 29 revolved around that item and leadership. What does pumpkin spice have to do with leadership?
To begin with, pumpkin spice does not contain pumpkin but consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and other spices depending on the recipe. Non-bakers or misinformed individuals may incorrectly assume there is pumpkin in the spice simply because the name appears on the label. But nothing could be farther from the truth. In other words, names and labels may be different than the contents of the package.
The same is true with leadership. Many people mistakenly believe that leadership is associated with a position of authority, a title, or rank. For example:
- Bill Bunyon, President, International House of Foot Problems
- Chief Henry Hose, Burnenmup Fire Department
- Sergeant Joe Schmuckatelli, USMC
All three of the fictitious individuals are in a position of authority, they have a title, and two of them possess a rank. They have labels, but does that automatically make them a leader? Absolutely not, because no one is an automatic leader. Leadership and personal development is a process evolving over time. You cannot go to the department store and buy a can of leadership. Nor can you purchase a self-help book, sleep with it under your pillow, and hope to develop as a leader. Development requires dedication, effort, and w-o-r-k.
However, many organizations live under the false impression that because someone is highly competent and proficient in their job skills, they will automatically make a good supervisor. This is more than often not the case. Let us look at another fictitious example. Charlene graduated from a well-known university with a degree in software engineering and immediately began work with a large tech company. She was dedicated to her work, outperformed her peers, and came to the attention of management. Three years later, Charlene was promoted to supervise a team of ten individuals in the company’s research department.
How will Charlene perform in her new role? Has the company invested in her personal growth and development, or has the company only paid to send her to classes improving technical skill? How will the team respond to and operate under Charlene’s supervision? If the company has not prepared her to be a supervisor, will Charlene become frustrated with her new responsibilities? What is the long-range impact for everyone concerned? These are important questions to consider because the answers affect Charlene and the company she works for.
Just as pumpkin spice does not have any pumpkin in the bottle, leadership is not automatic for people who are in positions of authority, have a title, or hold a rank. Go back and read the questions again in the previous paragraph and ask yourself if they apply to you or your organization. Reach out to me and discover how I can provide solutions to your personal and organizational development. Use the contact form on my website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s strike up a conversation.