Transitioning from Doing to Leading

by Sandy Nelson on July 25, 2012

The transition from doing to leading is one of the most challenging to be made. Those who contribute significant value through applied creativity and/or excel at fulfilling commitments establish identities that attract attention. Inevitably, a time comes when these individuals must confront the choice to lead.

Whether by role or influence, the value and magnetic resonance of their contributions and presence open doors to leadership. It is at this critical juncture that personal awareness and discipline determine the course forward.

The mindful leader understands that the time has arrived to pilot and develop others. Setting standards and expectations for doing, while exercising the discipline to resist the temptation to “dive in and get it done myself”, she recognizes that a significant fork in the road has appeared and chooses a different path.

Appealing as it may be to continue to do what one loves to do—getting the job done right, attending as many meetings on topics of particular interest that can possibly fit into an already overstretched schedule, seeking inclusion in as many of the fun conversations as is humanly possible—the disciplined leader recognizes that positioning herself, with all good intention, as a benevolent bottleneck is antithetical to success.

To lead is to interpret and set context, establish a vision, enroll, align and mobilize talent and resources around priorities while devoting oneself to the stewardship of the enterprise and the development of those who mange and operate it. To lead is to take the time and make the space to think and act strategically in the service of something larger than.

Think about it. Will you choose to lead today? Or, is this day just another in a long line of over scheduled days of doing for you?


Sandy Nelson

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