To be more specific, the CEO and her own professional development. Or his.
Some of the most spectacular CEO’s I’ve ever known were like great fathers — they sacrifice for their people like a dad sacrifices for the family. Or should.
There are a few basic philosophies that I often encounter as I roam about serving – or trying to serve – businesses and organizations.
- Leaders invest little or no money in professional development thinking it to be a waste of time and money.
- Leaders invest lots of money without much discrimination, often sending or approving to send people to just about every seminar or convention possible.
- Leaders invest an appropriate amount of resources to develop their people, but do so in a very discriminating way.
No matter which camp a CEO falls into, I’ve often found that the CEO himself doesn’t invest in himself. A busy schedule, a confidence that he doesn’t need it, a desire to prefer others take advantage of it — there seem to be too many reasons why the top dog deprives himself of professional development resources that might help him grow as an effective leader.
When You Don’t Know Something, Ask.
So I’ve asked top leaders why they don’t avail themselves of the opportunities. Mostly, they tell me they just don’t have the time. But there’s an underlying reason that eventually comes out. Some appear to think they’re beyond it. By ascending to the top spot in the organization it means they must appear beyond the need of mere mortals. It’s understandable. It also seems to hinge somewhat on where the leader is on the generational timeline. Younger leaders don’t appear, in my experience, to have quite the hangup that older leaders may. They seem to embrace learning, openly. No fear in their staff or the business seeing them as a person who may not yet have it all figured out.
Which is why that graphic displays a guy with his head in his hands. Frustration. Loneliness. Every leader experiences those feelings. Some problems warrant it. Some don’t. No matter, the CEO has to shoulder the weight of whatever challenges face the business. It’s up to him to lead the way toward effective, profitable solutions. His effectiveness isn’t often based on his own brilliance, and the very best CEO’s know this. Instead, how well they can rally a group of people to produce winning performances is the measure of their leadership.
The ironic thing is, when the conversation goes deep enough, CEO’s readily recognize that when their people see their “humanity” it deepens their connection with the organization. So, let’s get this straight. Some CEO’s don’t invest in their own professional development because they honestly think they have to be the smartest person in the room – the person with the best answers. But if they’re willing to show weaknesses and vulnerability as a person, their people often respect them more and are more willing to run through walls for them.
It just goes to show you that even top level CEO’s have head trash.
Today’s show is an attempt to convince you – the CEO – that your own professional development must be a top priority!
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