Yet while at the table we do have to adopt an owner's mindset for the responsibilities and consequences of the contributions and decisions we make while still understanding we are temporary custodians and part of an ongoing leadership legacy. This is true whether we serve in a formal leadership position or if we are someone who simply has accrued access and influence that gets us attention. Unless we are founding members of an organization, many have come before us and many are still to come.
Embracing our temporary role as owners applies to both formal leadership positions and informal leadership in the moment or a meeting: contribute, but ensure others can do so also. Effective leadership orientation and transition can reinforce this premise. Here's an example from my distant past.
|1980-81 Executive Board, Illinois Association of Student Councils|
During my term, I often returned to their thoughts for inspiration and perspective. Each reading helped change my thinking about "making my mark" on the association. The pages reminded me I was one of many. My job was to build on what others had created, add my contributions to it, and turn it over to the next person ... both the scrapbook and my seat at the table.
The time to begin planning for leadership transition is the day you come into office, not a few weeks before you are going to leave.
What rituals could you create to reinforce the understanding you want your volunteer and staff leaders to embrace about their temporary seat at the table?