This week did not go as planned. Unfortunately, I came face-to-face with my humanity and how quickly my seemingly indestructible super-suit can be rendered inactive. I have been nursing a knee injury for weeks now, but a bad encounter with a staircase this week has left me down for the count, awaiting the orthopedic surgeon’s response.
My teams at work rallied this week to execute some of our largest events of the year and I was forced to connect to strategic planning meetings of our executive leadership team by phone in between doses of pain medicine that left my mind foggy, to say the least. It certainly hasn’t been my best week of contribution.
I was in the middle of Nohria and Kurhana’s Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice when I took the fall. Even though I did not get to read thoroughly through each chapter, I appreciate their approach to the study of leadership. They provided access to overarching leadership theories as well as real-life leadership issues. I particularly enjoyed the chapter “What Makes Teams of Leaders Leadable?” In this chapter, the authors discuss the role and function of leadership teams.
This week has been a great reminder of how fragile yet resilient the work of leadership really is. My injury has taken me out of the game for a short period of time. I am of very little help to anyone. This forced absence has highlighted the need for team purpose rather than leader purpose. Though I am thankful for the trust of those I work with, the collective work of the whole far outranks my own ability. If I must be present at all times for the mission to move forward, we are building on the wrong foundation. The leadership teams I facilitate as well as those I am a member of must have a purpose greater than any one of us as individuals. This week taught me that in some areas, my teams are doing well with this. In others, more empowerment needs to be given and purpose needs to be defined.
I am sure it is very clear from this post that my mind not firing on all cylinders. Even though I am frustrated by my current circumstance, I am always thankful for opportunities to learn. I talked in a previous post about my desire for margin to be a more reflective leader…I didn’t necessarily intend for the margin of time to come in this way. Perhaps this is God’s not-so-amusing way of dealing with my stubbornness!
 Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana, Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press), 2014.