A few weeks ago, I posted on LinkedIn a review of the book “Mind of the Leader,” with the critical point that investments into your career relationships could be the best New Year’s resolutions you make than anything you “do.” It could be the best move of your life.
And then the New York Times just this weekend took a critical look at the “Hustle” culture, which seems to demonstrate now, more than ever, this pendulum needs to swing back in favor of human relationships.
Surely, you know the “hustle” culture. Google “Tim Cook wakeup time” and you see all the likely suspects telling us 3:45 am. Business Insider, Goalcast, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, and many others. But you’ll rarely find articles illustrating how Tim Cook runs a meeting or demands a team orientation from his executive team.
Many executives in the digital world today — Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Officers, and Chief Data Officers, for example — wrestle with this challenge with their teams daily. Are you maximizing your agile sprints with workload or are you focused on return on investment?
More specifically, ask yourself daily — are you authentically serving in the ways that utilize the best of your resources? Or are you wearing the volume of your work as your badge of honor?
I was once drawn by the concept that leaders are “not paid by the word” but paid for turning the best of those words into results. Leadership is not a zero-sum game that says, you either get your way, or you lose. Our paycheck is not determined by how much we speak or do, but instead how we maximize the resources of our team by participating as a catalyst for its success.
Yes, it’s “work smarter not harder,” but it is much more than that, according to the authors of Mind of the Leader:
“Your role is to be more of a listener and less of a manager. Your role requires being open to various viewpoints and includes a willingness to act as a catalyst for others’ success. To do so, you must be able to put your ego aside and embody a genuine sense of humility.”
It is heresy for one with the “hustle” mindset to cede the center of gravity to the team. But it is truly liberating to let go of the concept that your value is measured by how you have an answer to every question or problem which comes your way. Instead, embrace measuring yourself on how you help build the team’s confidence and productivity in getting things done.
And your boss and coworkers will appreciate it more, and you’ll reap the rewards.