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.

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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!

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