Are You Sharing the Stage... or Stealing the Spotlight?
Leadership Lessons from an Evening of Musical Brilliance
I recently attended a fabulous musical performance by singer/songwriter Amos Lee. My daughter had given me the tickets months ago, knowing how much I enjoy the artist's bluesy, soulful, pared-down acoustic style. I've been anticipating the concert all summer, listening to my Amos Lee station on Pandora, and imagining I'd hear all those familiar songs performed live in concert.
Lee hit the stage, not as a solo act, but with his amazing band. He also shared the stage with his invited musical guests,
the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Every one of these
musicians was given time in the spotlight and the opportunity to take center stage. The result was a phenomenal performance that I, and the rest of the audience, will not soon forget.
The concert was a huge success because Amos Lee did more than simply take the stage as a solo performer. That, in itself, would have made for a terrific show. But in sharing the spotlight and showcasing others' talent, Lee orchestrated a performance beyond my highest expectations.
As a leader, are you sharing the stage as you should be?
Are you leveraging the diversity and talent that sits within your organization?
Are you creating outcomes that far outweigh anything one individual (you) could ever accomplish as a solo act?
Think about it, give it honest reflection, then rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. Ask yourself:
How well (or, how often) do I do the following?
- Showcase members of my team in front of key stakeholders.
- Give my team the opportunity to lead the discussion, while I take a back seat.
- Give credit to my team for successful outcomes.
- Seek, consider, and incorporate diverse points of view.
- Leverage the strengths and talents of my team.
- Share credit with business partners who’ve contributed to a successful result.
- Offer exciting leadership opportunities to my team.
Here’s how to interpret your score.
You are sharing the glory, showcasing talent, leveraging your team’s strengths, and collaborating for top results. Keep it up, and encourage your team to bring to the same approach to their teams and business partners.
You sometimes share the stage, highlight others’ contributions, provide leadership opportunities and/or incorporate diverse perspectives. Do this more often and more consistently to ensure greater leadership impact and drive increased engagement among your team and business partners.
Less than 35: What’s holding you back?
This is a good time for additional reflection. Consider:
- Why aren't you sharing credit, showcasing talent, providing leadership opportunities or incorporating diversity of thought into your work as a leader?
- Do you have a strong enough team, allowing you to confidently let go as you raise others up?
- Have you identified the benefits of sharing the stage?
Reflect on your results, then create a plan to get even better at sharing the stage... and act on it. Use this as a great opportunity to grow as a leader, engage and retain top talent, build strong partnerships, and drive to stellar outcomes.
- Do you worry that sharing credit might diminish your own impact or recognition?
Slow Down to Speed Up:
Lead, Succeed and Thrive in a 24/7 World
I’m thrilled to announce that my forthcoming book, Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed and Thrive in a 24/7 World, is officially in production! It’s a highly actionable book, filled with pragmatic advice to help you, and your company, thrive in today’s fast-paced world.
If you are interested in pre-ordering the book for yourself or a colleague, or if you’d like to submit a bulk pre-order, please send me an email: email@example.com.
Stayed tuned for additional details and some very special offers!
"Liz provides an in depth look at something we all struggle with. Finding the balance. These real life examples provide insight into some innovative new thinking around the pragmatism of finding high impact results in the middle of changing priorities and the constant search for overall effectiveness."
David and Esperanza Neu
Neu Center for Supportive Medicine and Cancer Survivorship
Did you miss my last newsletter?
The Five Advisors Every Leader Needs
Leadership can be a lonely job. Despite having dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people who look up to you, chances are, you feel isolated more often than you’d like to admit.
The people who work for you may be reluctant to engage you in friendly conversation or they may hesitate to provide you with valuable feedback on how you are doing as a leader.
Beyond that, you may be reluctant to open up to your boss or peers, concerned that you will come across as indecisive, insecure or weak. As a result, you sometimes find yourself feeling unsupported and uncertain, making important decisions without sufficient input or support.
The simple truth is, to be a great leader, you can’t go it alone. Instead you must surround yourself with people who will pressure-test your decisions, provide divergent points of view, support you on tough calls, and champion your vision across the organization.
Here are five kinds of advisors who will help you thrive as a leader:
Great leaders know, it’s neither a luxury nor an indulgence to turn to others for advice and support, as they attend to the incredibly demanding and rewarding work of running an organization. So, have you got your own five advisors?There’s no time like the present to engage the right people to accelerate your leadership impact and personal success.
- Wise mentors. These are people who know the organization, are politically savvy, and can help you lead in the face of complexity. While your manager can serve as a mentor, it is important to enlist mentors who don’t have direct control over your next performance evaluation.
- Trusted peers. These are the colleagues who sit beside you on your boss’s leadership team. They may run another function, region or business unit. Or they may sit outside the company but participate with you in industry events or leadership roundtables. Be sure to identify peer advisors whose opinion you respect and who are invested in helping you succeed.
- Your direct reports. A good leader is unafraid to ask his or her team for suggestions, feedback, and potential solutions. You’ve taken the time to hire a smart, talented group of leaders. Use them to help you make stellar decisions and work through challenges.
- An exceptional leadership advisor or coach. There was a time when leaders worked with coaches because they were struggling or on the verge of failure. That’s never been a great use of organizational dollars. The best investment a company can make is in helping its top executives and rising stars to get even better, faster. The fact is, as a successful leader, you have many strengths upon which to build. By working with a top-tier executive advisor, you invest in yourself, your team, your company, and your clients.
- Yourself. While it is valuable to have an array of advisors to help you excel as a leader and thrive as a person, don’t underestimate your ability to step back and thoughtfully reflect on the decisions you make, the style you bring, your talents, passions, strengths, and gaps. I advise my clients to step out of the busyness of their roles and build in time for strategic pauses. This gives them space to consider their approach and become their own thoughtful advisor.
Dr. Liz on Leadership:
New Column and Special Offer
For more leadership advice from Dr. Liz, check out my new digital monthly column, exclusively in Life Science Leader!
Targeted (free) access: If you’d like complimentary access to my monthly column and additional articles, subscribe here.
Full (paid) subscription:
For access to all of Life Science Leader’s outstanding content, take advantage of an exclusive offer for my clients and readers. Subscribe here to receive an annual subscription for only $49/year (regular subscription price is $295/year).
Benefits of the paid subscription include:
- Unrestricted access to the Life Science Leader website, including content from the current issue.
- Monthly magazine delivery plus special content-focused supplements (e.g., CRO, CMO).
- Weekly e-newsletters.
- Access to special whitepapers and reports.
- Access to Life Science Leader’s digital edition archive.
Dr. Liz Bywater has been called a one-of-a-kind leadership expert. Working at the intersection of business and psychology, she brings together pragmatic experience, advising top executives across the Fortune 500, with an advanced degree in Psychology and a dynamic personal style to inspire, engage and counsel her clients.
For more than a decade, top global organizations have requested Liz’s help in resolving issues such as creating extraordinary client relationships, increasing market persuasion, and driving productive collaborations in an increasingly complex world.
Liz advises senior leaders at some of the world’s most successful companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Thomson Reuters, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AmerisourceBergen and more. She uses her expertise in human behavior to drive commercial success. She helps her clients propel innovation, exert influence and lead their organizations through change.
A thought leader in organizational excellence, Liz provides expert commentary for such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company and USA Today. She is on the editorial advisory board for Life Science Leader magazine and is a featured expert on such radio broadcasts as CBS Philadelphia's Philadelphia Agenda with Brad Segall and Woman of the Week with Marilyn Russell.
Liz earned her PhD in Psychology at the Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. Her undergraduate degree is from Cornell University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude. She is a longstanding member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Advancement of Consulting. She lives in scenic Bucks County, PA, with her husband and two teenage children. Stay tuned for Liz's forthcoming book, Slow Down to Speed Up! (Business Expert Press, November 2017).