So your boss has asked, “What do you think about becoming the chair of a new department?” Now you could substitute “chair of a new department” with any of many new responsible positions of leadership, such as head of a new division, warehouse supervisor, shift leader, vice president of sales, vice president of marketing or CEO and President of a corporation. The issue is personal and professional development. Just because you want the new position does not mean you are ready to assume the responsibilities and the leadership role. This subject, and much of the content of this article, came from a “Men’s Discipleship Class” at the church I attend. The audience was all men, but the material easily applies to both genders. From a spiritual perspective, the speaking pastor emphasized that promotions come from God, not from your ambition and ability to campaign for a leadership position.
What happens when you are not ready?
So how do you know? There are three events or experiences accompanying the individual assuming a leadership position too early. First, there is an increased likelihood of failure. Do you know what the divorce rate is among married teenagers? It is 75 percent! Three out of every four teenage marriages end in divorce! Why? Neither the man nor the woman is prepared for marriage.
Neither has any, or little, experience providing a steady income, putting the spouse’s needs first, paying bills on time, showing up for work regularly and being dependable for the boss, the spouse and (eventually) the children. Obviously, this could be a very long list.
Have you ever heard of the 18 year old pitcher for the Texas Rangers in the mid-1970s? He went straight into the major league from high school. His record was outstanding in every category, won/lost record, strikeouts, fielding, earned run average, etc. And the first few games with the Texas Rangers were impressive, with many games won, strikeouts, fielding, etc. And the coach, as well as the fans, were very impressed. However, just a few weeks into the season he injured his arm. Physiologically his arm was not ready. A professional baseball pitcher has to develop his technique, and this teenager did not possess the experience or the physical ability to pitch with regularity in the major leagues. And he was forced to quit.
Second, there are no convictions. To be a good leader one needs time to develop character, meaning time for convictions to develop. I am talking about convictions concerning life, right, wrong, what works and what does not, how to respond to a wide variety of people and personalities, and how to handle difficult circumstances where you do not find the answers in a book or policy manual. Third, there is pride. As the saying goes, “Pride comes before a fall.” Male ego is real;
Third, there is pride. As the saying goes, “Pride comes before a fall.” Male ego is real; and every man has to deal with it. And ladies too must battle pride. Do you have a lack of humility? Do you trust in yourself, or do you ask help from others when needed? Is God a real source of help in your life? Over time, life has a way of forcing humility; and that humility will prepare you for the future. And that often happens following failure after failure after failure. There are many examples of this not only in the Bible but throughout the history of mankind. Especially for Americans, one of the best examples of this is Abraham Lincoln. He lost and failed at numerous political campaigns and other ventures in life, but then became president ofUnited States of America. But life had taught Mr. Lincoln many lessons over time; and he had many convictions about life, right and wrong and how to deal with a wide variety of people and personalities in both his personal life and his political life. And he was quite probably the greatest president this country has ever had.
How to know if you are ready…
Can you ever know if you are ready for that promotion to a leadership position? There are no easy answers. However, here are three character traits, which must be present when you are ready. You Are Patient: Being in a hurry can get you into trouble. Wisdom in timing is also important. Being first is not always the best position.
You Are Patient: Being in a hurry can get you into trouble. Wisdom in timing is also important. Being first is not always the best position.
You Have Been a Subordinate: And you have been one for quite some time. You served under a leader or boss and did your very best to make that leader or boss look good in the eyes of his superiors. (This was the subject of an earlier article.) And you have learned from others, especially that leader or boss.
You Are Not Going to Quit: As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is true in life, and it certainly is true in the workplace as you develop your career. What have you done in the past in the face of adversity? Do you struggle through the difficult times when seemingly there are no answers? Or have you repeatedly given up? This is still another signal indicating “… if you are ready.” As always, your comments are most appreciated
As always, your comments are most appreciated.