A leader's best work should always be ahead of them. Otherwise, you are just coasting. While coasting can be fun and, at times, essential to recharging your batteries, a steady diet of it will lead to underwhelming business results over the long haul.
For this reason, it is essential for leaders to keep their level of commitment up and drive their teams toward higher levels of achievement, while remembering to maintain balance between near-term and long-term goals. If all of your focus is on delivering near-term results, your business will plateau -- and that can be an opening for your competitors to speed past you. Indeed, it is wise to invest your energy every day to, both, build the capabilities that you need now and invest in creating the capabilities needed in the future.
Here are some ideas that you can use to develop the competencies needed tomorrow, as you continue to dedicate focus on execution and performance today.
Don't be satisfied with "good enough."
Rather, be deliberate in demonstrating your commitment to doing all you can do each day and you will be the example that your team needs to commit themselves to giving their best every day, too. After all, leaders set the example and expectation for the whole team.
Ask your team important leading questions.
For example, at your next routine status review meeting, ask:
"How can we do this better? Faster? More economically?"
You'll begin to instill a winner's "never be satisfied with yesterday's performance" mindset within your people. I've seen this in action and it works.
The president at a current client, with whom we are working to recast their leadership culture, never ends his staff meeting with his senior leadership team, without going around the room and asking each executive for their ideas for getting better as a business. It's his way of sending the message that no one here gets to rest on his or her laurels. It works. This business is the undeniable leader in its industry.
Develop the habit and discipline of regularly asking yourself, "what's next?"
By devoting focused time to thinking through the steps you and your team need to take to get to the next level of achievement, you will build the "thought muscle" needed to better identify and anticipate what will be needed to remain competitive in the future -- essential insight for where to invest your team's skills development today.
Remember, leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. Rest if you must, but, do not stop ease up on the intensity to win. Your team will stall, if you do. Instead, maintain a balance by spending time between driving to today's goals and examining what is needed to meet the demands of tomorrow's competitive environment.