Do you remember where you were in 2012 when you still liked Facebook, cared about its endless integration of our lives, and wanted nothing more than to wish that random classmate you haven’t seen since prom happy birthday?
Yep, me too.
So when I found myself waxing nostalgic while watching The Social Network last week, a single line from the film hit me: “Fashion is never finished.” Mr. Zuckerberg, whether you actually said it or Aaron Sorkin wrote it, the comment is spot on! And I’m not feeling that line simply because I like to rock a pair of AGs or can appreciate a sweet pair of Nike SB Dunks, but because He. Was. Right.
The End Doesn’t Exist
So many arts, sciences, and all things in-between truly have no finish line. As a parent, you’re never done raising your kids. As a founder, there is no “Yep, we did it” moment. And he was right about fashion… a dress, a shoe, or a pair of jeans can be designed and sent to the factory, but Fashion (with a capital “F”) as a concept is never ever Ever EVER done… season to season, palette to palette, mood to mood, it keeps evolving, driving, pushing, and inspiring.
And that got me thinking… Leadership is never finished either. It keeps evolving, driving, pushing, and inspiring all those willing to follow.
People Aren’t Projects
You can finish a project, sprint, Powerpoint, or book. You can run a payroll, complete a new employee orientation, bill a client, or execute an all hands meeting. But your mentorship, your guidance, your day-to-day influence on those around you has no due date, completed checklist, or inbox zero. It’s a long and winding road.
Leadership is an egoless endeavor, and one that brings out our inner servant to motivate, influence, and collaborate with those around us – especially when you are in HR. For a people leader, the focus shouldn’t be on the senior management team or those board-appointed C-level rock stars, but rather the next wave of newbies who show up Monday after Monday. They are your company’s future, and they are the masterpiece that needs your attention.
And that’s a good thing, because every single person that walks in your door each day, new employee or two-decade vet, looks to you for that “I’ve got your back” smile, anything is possible attitude, and let’s just keep moving this company forward energy. That’s why they are there, and that’s why YOU are there.
Be the Guide, the Map, AND the Compass
Just promise me this: Make goals for your people, have a focus, and aim high… but never think it’s enough. I always say the best thing to have is a high level of confidence and an inversely small ego, and that is what every single person at your company needs from their people leader: The confidence to know you’ve got their back as they reach for their goals, and that your own ego won’t get in the way until they cross the finish line… because you don’t get to.
Much like the seasonal styles that march from Paris Fashion Week down to Banana Republic, it’s your effort, words, intent, and guidance that will carry your team forward from season to season, project to project, and yes, job to job. Leadership is never finished.