Leading from the Front to the Back
How often have you processed a task, and without thinking about it, neglected to consider processes that took place before and after yours? It's OK. Be honest. We have all been there whether we realized it or not. It is so easy to do. The pace in which workflows happen sometimes can keep our heads buried in our processes, and we may or may not consider the impact from our stakeholders' operations.
One of the most effective actions I have taken in any new role goes well beyond the comprehension of my direct responsibilities. Whether it was my time working in the transportation, utility, or government industries, it was always vital for me to know how my work and responsibilities impacted the processes that came before and after mine. Some of my colleagues considered me to be the curious (some called it nosy) team member, but I have found that where comprehension lies, success follows. What do I mean? In most of my career, I always volunteered to shadow or visit with the teams that I received work from or forwarded work to following my processes. When I visited with the teams, I inevitably had a more comprehensive understanding of not just my process, or the other groups', but a greater understanding of the organization as a whole. It made my job easier to execute. Whenever you have an opportunity to ask questions, sit with other teams, shadow stakeholders, I implore you to do so. Here are just a few reasons why:
It helps to build inter-organizational relationships. Once a person gets past learning the technical components of their job, building and maintaining solid relationships will come in handy. Not only will the other stakeholders know that you have a general understanding of their work, but there is also an increased potential for loyalty within your working relationship. When there are potential failures, the relationships you have built could help you avoid the error and foster the moment of success.
You do not know what the future holds. Today you may be working in hospitality, but tomorrow you could easily be looking to apply for a career in accounting. What if, while working at the hospitality desk, you understood the relationship your job had with the accounting department? Your proactive choice to understand the full work cycle could be the experience and understanding needed for your next employer to rate you higher in the interview process.
Knowledge is growth. One of the core values of The Greater You Leadership Series' is self-awareness. With self-awareness comes the ability to progress and grow in life. Every opportunity you have to build your knowledge base makes you holistically a stronger individual. Knowledge is the one thing that can not be stripped away from you easily. It makes you more equipped to be a critical thinker, problem-solver, and activator.
Remember, leading is not just a formal role. Your willingness to take an interest in others' work, have a vision, expand your knowledge, and build relationships, are direct traits of leading. To be able to lead through an entire cycle makes you more marketable and much more of an effective leader. I encourage you to send an email or make a quick phone call today to that co-worker to learn how their efforts play a significant part in making your job a success!