The world is flush with leadership right now. Leadership books. Leadership podcasts. Industry leaders. Corporate leaders. Governmental leaders.
Leadership has gotten us where we are as a species. We wouldn’t be living in the world that we are right now if there were people who came before us who, for generations, have been incrementally moving the needle a little at a time.
Where does leadership start? How do you become proficient at leading? Is there a point in our development when you can add “Leader” to your resume?
Lots of rhetorical questions there.
I think about our industry: Infrasturcture, civil works, hard dollar construction. I think of my mentors, people who I would consider to be leaders who I have followed, worked or been associated with. What did they have in common that made me look to them as Leaders?
All of them were rooted in the basics of our business. They knew how our business operated. They had foundational knowledge of the elements that we work with everyday. They could troubleshoot, develop solutions to problems that others with less experience couldn’t or didn’t see. They had the demeanor, the communication skills, the poise, the gumption to be strong when they needed to be, to bring heat when it was needed, but to be able to sit, listen, lend an ear, support a decision that I made.
They didn’t read it in a book. There weren’t podcasts when my leadership mentors where showing me the way. They were upstanding men who were rooted in the basics.
So the message:
Chip away at the foundational elements of our work everyday. Take nothing that you see, hear, do, touch or experience for granted. Even in the little interactions that occur during the day, each of those becomes another block in your personal structure.
Taking the time to study, read, practice, train on your skillset, whatever that looks like. Your toolbox is different than mine, we have different interests, different areas of focus, different goals. Sharpen your saw. Swap out tools that have become old with new ones. Keep pushing yourself.
If you run out of things to do, make work. Develop new ways of training, of honing your skills. Of adding new ideas & tools & skills to your toolbox.
Forward moving – Always.