My thoughts lately have been on the need for leaders to become and stay relevant. Relevancy creates staying power, but it requires constant vigilance.
I read an article recently where Vince Molinari shared three ways that leaders become irrelevant. These can be the things that cause the downfall of many leaders.
1) You Believe You Arrived: When leaders achieve a certain level of success they wrongly conclude that they’ve made it. That they have arrived. This can lead a leader to starting coasting. Then one day you realize you no longer matter in your organization. Your ideas don’t resonate with others. You stop being invited to important meetings. To have enduring staying power means understanding that leadership is an unending journey – you never arrive. You must constantly challenge yourself both in how you think about leadership and the way in which you lead, no matter what level of success you have achieved. Ask yourself: do I have a tendency to sit back and reflect on the glory of my past accomplishments?
2) You Play it Safe: Artists with real staying power often take creative risks. Sometimes those risks don’t pay off. They produce a bad CD. A Broadway show tanks after opening night. It happens, but it doesn’t deter them from trying. Many leaders play it safe. They rise up the ranks and then fear losing all they’ve worked so hard to attain. Others lead cautiously because they are afraid they will make mistakes that will tarnish their reputation. When you start playing it safe you start down the personal path to mediocrity. Ask yourself: when did I take my last real risk as a leader?
3) You Stop Being Curious: You can quickly become irrelevant as a leader when you stop being curious about the world around you. You may think you’ve seen it all or that you have all the answers. You stifle the creativity of those around you. You are the one who often says, “We’ve tried this before and it didn’t work.” When you stop being curious, you cut yourself off from the world. You also don’t remain responsive to opportunities in the market. Then one day you realize you’ve become a stale leader. Ask yourself: have I stopped being curious as a leader?
So for leaders to have staying power and to remain relevant – Keep Growing, Take Risks and Be Curious.