I think about leadership constantly. The greatest personal growth I have undergone has come from professional challenges I face growing a real estate company from a single duplex to more than 8,600 units, with more units on the way.
To achieve that kind of explosive external growth, I have had to change dramatically on the inside. It has been said that “every organization is the shadow of its leader,” and these words I believe.
My challenge has always been to grow fast enough to be worthy of the faith and trust of those who have chosen to join me: To cast a meaningful shadow.
My organization has undergone tremendous growth in the last few years (even though the percentage of growth has been relatively constant, the growth in absolute terms continues to astound me), and some of the leadership methods that have worked in the past are no longer sufficient. I don’t have the amount of face-to-face contact I used to, and I need to focus more and more on longer- and longer-range vision setting.
My father was a civil engineer and from him I learned to fix things, mechanical things, electrical things. To take them apart, find what was wrong, and put them back together. A very useful skill.
Yet one of the built-in traps was that this method involves always looking for what is wrong, instead of what is right. And while looking for what is wrong is a skill set that works well with physical things that are broken, I’ve come to learn that with people you are much, much better off looking for what is right. Instead of looking for what is wrong and getting rid of it, look for what is right and create more of it. Eventually the good tends to drive out the bad, or at least make it less relevant.
So, once again, another reminder to myself to work on being a better “good finder,” and to once again focus on the power of praise.