This is Leadership – Coasting

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Just when you think you don’t need anyone, that’s when you actually need someone.’

If sharing the employable skills series was refreshing, brace up for this bite which seeks to propel you to move by passion and not powered by an engine. You don’t have to exert too much energy. Just love what you do without complaints. I call it coasting. Fall for your role at the workplace and you’ll start coasting. And when you start coasting, you’ll naturally feel it. You’ll feel the butterflies in your belly and your whole system will get into the groove. You will definitely understand that the reward for hard work is more work and not fun.

To bring it home, look at it this way. Have you really had a very nice time sipping the wine you like most and the feeling is such that you are not really drunk but because you drank your favourite wine you really and truly feel drunk? Or look at it from this angle, getting happy before been served with your favourite wine and getting drunk because you drank your favourite wine. The point is that you don’t need too much wine to get drunk if you are served with your favourite wine.

In Leadership Development, some think that coasting just happens. No way. You need to work to the top. It is also clear that you just cannot jump up the ladder and be coasting. Some hard work must go into it. Get it straight, there is no hard work if you do what is expected of you. As a matter of fact, revisit your job description on a monthly basis. This is just twelve times within a year if you intend doing this once a month.

People easily forget why they actually go to work, sometimes. Not only forgetting. People also find it difficult to stick to strategies, plans, follow procedures and deliver on numbers. People fail to check whether their actions are even in sync with their institution’s VVMOST: Values, vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Any activity at the workplace should in the long-term dovetail into maximizing shareholder’s value. Keep this in check. Getting to the top, you might have rolled up your sleeves at some point and you may have poured out some sweat, tears and blood. I mean sacrifice. It’s fun to coast but it demands hard work to get there. Within the hard work is passion.

Let’s get practical. Coasting is just like descending down the Aburi mountains in the Eastern Region of Ghana towards Accra, the capital city. You may not need to accelerate because you may be enjoying some freewheeling and going with the flow. But look at it through a clever spectacle. Though you may not even need the engine to start, you shall surely need direction otherwise you may crash-land. It is really a big deal. You can’t be ‘chilling’ at the workplace even when you are meeting your numbers. Learn to set new targets for yourself.

You are always tempted to lose focus and direction the very moment you start coasting. The very day I absorbed the coasting concept, I concluded that there is no happiness in complacency. Step up the passion because the coasting period seriously calls for strategy and thinking in wait of the storm and the climb.

It’s brilliant to enjoy coasting in your career and in your long road to Leadership Development. ‘It is however dangerous’ when professionals think that they are there when they are not. Never keep asking if you there yet? Because you are not, and you may never be when the vision is in motion. One secret is that, just when you think you don’t need anyone, that’s when you actually need someone.

People work very hard at the workplace especially from entry levels through senior officer roles and they decide to coast when they become Managers. Question: have you really arrived? Learn to learn new things, learn to multi-task and learn to stretch yourself. Learn to rotate functions and subsequently take up new challenges. Be prepared to get to the top and be curious with a corporate strategy so that you can see ahead before your peers do.

Learn to know what happens in other people’s roles. The workplace is changing very fast. Look around and also be sensitive to the job and industry you are in. For example, working in a bank, you cannot say that selling products and services of the bank is not part of your job. You cannot also say that customer service is not part of your job.

Colleagues who are aware of this, at least enjoy a coasting moment at some point in their career development process. Just know a little bit more of the employee life cycle curve to enjoy this concept. Justly, the road is clear. You need some experience to know when to coast and when not to. Coasting is beautiful and refreshing. It could, however, be dangerous. Learn various roles. Be quick to see into the future.

The point is that, when you keep doing what is expected of you by sharpening your competencies and also getting to learn new roles and other people’s competences, then you may be drinking the wine you’ve always craved for even before you are served. When you are enjoying some coasting, do not be boasting.

For example, if you are part of the administration team, get interested in credit, legal, sales, marketing, recovery, customer service, I.T, R& D and to the extreme, operations.

Of course, you’ll be resourced, you’ll be given opportunities and Management will always give you some playing time to prove who you are and how much you are worth. The irony is that you can’t even coast when you are multi-skilled. Keep on developing in your area of work and other areas and do not coast now. Because you shall surely coast when you get there. Perhaps you may never coast. Just keep on broadening your knowledge base with a new set of skills.

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