What Changes When You Become the Leader?

Gary B Cohen, president and cofounder of ACI Telecentrics, Inc.

Excerpt from “Just Ask Leadership” pages 4-5:

If you’re like me, your ego propelled you into leadership.  You used your creativity and resourcefulness to meet objectives.  You asked questions only to accomplish a specific task.  In general, however, your ego discouraged you from asking questions and disliked following orders.  Egos want to achieve–on their own.

Egos also crave recognition.  With each success, your career has progressed and your standing in the organization or community has grown.  Your ego has grown, too.  You tend to ask fewer questions and provide more answers.  After all, others–even your boss, perhaps –come to you as an oracle.  You likely feel, and are, in control.

Here’s the paradox:  egos can vault you into a leadership position, but as a leader you now must set your ego aside and relinquish control.

As a leader, your career advancement is no longer task-dependent.  Leadership is about allowing others the chance to flourish.  You advance as a leader only when you place your coworkers’ egos above your own.  And you do that, and convey that, by asking questions. (Bolded by LWQ)

Four-star general Jack Chain is a true leader.  When he served as a staff officer in the Pentagon, his 10 year-old daughter asked him, “What do you do?”  he thought for a minute and said, “I answer questions.”  Later, when he made commander, his daughter asked how his new role would be different.  His response:  “Now I ask the questions.”

Gary B. Cohen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary B. Cohen is  is Managing Partner of  co2partners,” operating as an executive coach and consultant. He is the author of Just Ask Leadership.   As President and Co-founder of ACI Telecentrics, Inc., Gary Cohen grew the company from two people to 2,200 employees.

MORE RECENT POSTS

Is Change Your Destination? Drop 5 Question Pins

Guest Post by Tara Martin Lately, I’ve found myself challenging many current beliefs and educational...

The value of letting go of control

Excerpted from the 3rd Chapter of the Just Released “Musings on Leadership – Life Lessons to Help...

THREE UNEXPECTED REASONS WHY PEOPLE DON’T ASK QUESTIONS

Guest Post by Michael Bungay Stanier A few months back, an article in HBR proclaimed the power of...

How Do You Respond?

Excerpted from “Chapter 8” of “Now That’s A Great Question.” Scenario: One of...

The 21 Most Important Questions of Your Life

Guest Post by Darius Foroux One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from reading books,...

4 Questions Under 4 Words Each to Spark Engagement

Guest Post by Chad Littlefield Recently, I gave an interactive keynote in Cartagena, Colombia for the Global...

Would You Rather Hear “No” Or Wonder “What If”?

Guest Post by Mark J. Carter Yesterday I sent out an email asking a question – then soon after sending...

2 thoughts on “What Changes When You Become the Leader?

  1. yhwhhope says:

    A leader must understand the enomity and responiability of their position. whenever, whereever,to whomeever they may be in contact with,
    sobering statement i like it.

  2. Well said John! You are a wise man!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.