Will you Leave a Vacancy or a Void? This is a profound question to ponder. However, the answer could be the catalyst that propels you to higher performance and productivity in 2016. I truly believe your answer to this question can have significant impact on how the rest of the year goes for you.
There are many reasons why a person may leave an organization, but our focus today is what happens after our departure. You may initially see “vacancy” and “void” as synonyms, but as you consider a few key points, the real meaning of the words will emerge to guide our analysis.
A vacancy is simply an open position, which can be filled with a similar resource. This is especially true whenever we limit our contributions to the team to only those tasks specified in a position description. Consider an entry-level job. It is identified as such because, although its related tasks are necessary, they represent a small part of the whole and require basic knowledge and skills. It’s easy to see how someone in an entry-level position might only leave a vacancy when they move on. But this can also be the case for more senior positions, where we can match experience level, proficiency and certifications to fill the vacancy.
A void, on the other hand, is an empty space that is difficult to fill. Like the previous example, this can happen at any level of the organization. However, unlike the previous scenario you cannot simply plug in a new person and expect that the void will be filled. Such is the case with leaders.
Leaders at any level of the organization are never satisfied to limit their contributions to what is written in a position description. They create value for internal and external customers, not because it is their duty but rather because when they do, everyone wins. Leaders elevate the performance of everyone around them, often surpassing expectations because they inspire each member of their team to be and do better.
One of my favorite leadership quotes is:
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Gen. Douglas McArthur
Now consider the opening question again, in light of the General’s quote. Are you satisfied with just doing your job, or will you determine to be the leader that you are capable of being? Remember, titles are not necessary because leadership is about influencing others.
You do not have to tell people how to do things, simply what needs to be done. If they lack know how, train them. If they need resources, get or provide them. Whenever there are obstacles, strive to improvise, adapt, and overcome. How? Change the plan, change the work to be done, or change how it is to be done.
Whenever you are in a position of leadership, lead. If you do not know how to lead, find a mentor to guide your journey. If you are not in a leadership position, but the situation requires a leader and you know what needs to be done, then stand up with confidence and lead.
Make a positive impact wherever you are. Make sure that when you move on from your current position, you leave a void that others consider is difficult to fill.