At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you’re going to wake up and realize that you no longer have a job. Okay, that could be because you built up your company and sold it, but more often than not it’s because you have surrounded yourself with great talent and you are no longer needed in the day to day operations of your company. You might be bored, you might feel inadequate, or you might start causing problems in your business just to have problems to fix (I’m not the only one that does that, right?).
Sure, you may not be working in the business any longer, but it is still your “job” to lead the organization. You are no longer doing the financials, making sales calls, interviewing, writing contracts, etc. So, you show up to the office and do what?
Here are the 3 most important jobs of a leader:
- CAST THE VISION >>> Sharing the vision with your team and with the public can not happen enough. It is your job to spread the vision through every conversation, every interaction with the media, through social media, marketing, and branding. Teaching and training is one of the best ways to spread the vision to a wide audience. Some people will love it (and you) and some people will hate it. But by sharing the vision you will attract the people that should be in your life and who will help you grow your business. Casting the vision wide and often is your job.
- PROVIDE FOCUS, CLARITY, AND DIRECTION FOR THE TEAM >>> Now, you’ve shared the vision and it could be ten, twenty years out. You’ve attracted talent who want to be on the journey with you and then see the vision… vaguely. They are excited about it, but don’t quite understand how to get there or how they are going to contribute. It’s your job to provide extreme clarity and focus on exactly what needs to be done that day, that week, that month, to drive the entire organization forward. Cultivate a culture of great questions and allow your team to push you and challenge your thinking. The vision might be crystal clear in your mind, and you’ve got to slow down long enough to explain your vision so that your team can put it into action. And then take it a step further. There are going to be stretches of weeks and months when shit is just hitting the fan. This is when you really need to double down and keep your people on track. Keep them focused on one thing. They will get off track, sometimes daily. Bring them back to the one thing that they have to do. Sometimes this means telling them to set aside a smaller project and extending a deadline to focus all their time and intention on another priority. But tell them. Otherwise, they are trying to do it all, and getting nothing done. Setting the direction and keeping your team focused is your job.
- REMOVE ROADBLOCKS >>> Once your team understands the vision and is focused on the most important ways they can individually contribute to the company goals, then it’s your job to keep the path ahead clear for them to do just that. When your team needs a tech tool to increase their productivity – get it. When your leadership team needs 15 minutes to get your thoughts on a proposal they are about to send out – schedule time. Do what needs to be done to keep the train moving down the track. There is nothing worse than having your team held up because they are not getting the answers they need or they don’t have the correct software or are distracted by a minor project that can wait. Removing roadblocks is your job.
BONUS: And maybe it goes without saying, but all of the above would not be possible if you are not constantly working on yourself, your personal and professional development, and increasing your leadership lid. You will not be able to serve others or be the leader you need to be if your own tank isn’t full. Read, journal, exercise, meditate, attend conferences, teach. Do whatever you need to do in order to grow and to keep making your world bigger so that your team and others continue to see you as a vehicle for their success.
This may seem like an oversimplification, but I didn’t say these were the ONLY things a leader must do, but that they were the most important. As I mentioned before, at some point your job will be simply to read or to think, but make sure you are sharing what you read and learn with others. Cast the vision, provide focus, clarity, and direction, and remove roadblocks. That is your job as a leader.