What do you need to give up?

Best of 2014, first published on January 22, 2014
Change is a bumpy and twisty road. Each of us will experience some sort of loss as we work together to reach our goals. I like to keep that in mind as a reality check whenever I get frustrated with the slow pace of change. This post highlights what leaders have to give up as you step forward and lead our system into our future.
–Todd Thorsgaard

Change is exciting. Who can argue with  new ideas, innovation, continued success, and the mission of higher education to deliver knowledge and learning to our students? Certainly not me! As Anita reminded us, Dare to Dream. We have a compelling future in front of us and it is exciting. Yet, deep down, something about the future and change seems to evoke hesitancy, debate and even the dreaded word, resistance.  In fact, leaders often struggle with their own development because of this hesitancy and the challenge they face acknowledging it.  weighingyour

Ram Charan, in the Leadership Pipeline, describes the hesitancy as a part of the transition that leaders face as they develop and change to meet new challenges and new expectations. Each transition presents you with an exciting future and new possibilities as a leader but it also demands that you give up a piece of your past leadership role. You must lose a part of yourself to develop as a leader that can succeed in the turbulent higher education environment we face today.

Specifically, leadership transitions require changes in:

  • your time horizon
  • your priorities
  • your relationships
  • your leadership skills or style

Successful leaders take on larger and more complex priorities, and a greater time frame, but to do that need to give up priorities, change relationships, delegate tasks and stop doing things that they are very skilled at doing and value. These losses lead to hesitancy and not acknowledging and accepting the required losses can derail the development leaders need to change and succeed.

How will your role need to grow to help you lead your team through change? What will you need to give up to succeed?

Todd Thorsgaard

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