Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

It’s Not About You Anymore

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Dean Gialamas
March 8, 2024

As a leader, it’s not about you anymore; it’s about the organization and the people you serve.

In my leadership journey, I have learned, failed, unlearned and re-learned important principles, all of which have made me into the leader I am today—and that journey is not over by any stretch! Like you, I’m sure, my  journey so far has been filled with trials and insights that have shaped both my purpose and leadership style. I have learned that in order to get from where I am to where I want to be, I have to make adjustments, shifting my thinking, as well as my application of leadership.

One of the most counter-intuitive principles that I had to shift was my focus. When I first began my leadership journey—which by the way I did without coaching and mentoring early on, mistakenly thinking “bah, I got this”—I was hyper-focused on my individual success. After all, the more success I could achieve, the more respect I would earn…right?

Wrong. Fail. Not even close.

Success is often measured by one’s accomplishments. However, true fulfillment lies in the value we bring to others. I had to learn to shift my focus from merely “collecting success” to cultivating meaningful relationships, ensuring that those around me feel appreciated and making a positive difference for others.

The unlearned, aspiring leader might easily mistake collecting success stories with collecting trophies and certificates—the more I obtain, the more influence I must have. Nope. This misguided notion, that personal success translates to authority and respect, never materialized. I was in no position to influence others when I was focused solely on my own success. It just left me more frustrated and unsatisfied.

The truth of the matter is that in order to succeed as a leader you have to change the way you think, act and lead to see the bigger picture—one that benefits the entire organization. As a leader, it’s not about you anymore; it’s about the organization and the people you serve. You have to place what feels best for you below what is right for your people and organization on your list of priorities. I realized that leadership is not about amassing personal achievements, but is rather about fostering an environment where others can grow and thrive.

I know this is not easy and can be uncomfortable, especially when it feels like those around you are keeping a “success” score; it is natural to feel like you have to achieve more. However, someone else’s success should never subtract from your own self-worth.

As I have grown and matured on my own leadership journey, which is still ongoing, I have realized that it’s not about achieving personal goals, but about how I can enrich the lives of those around me. In doing so, I not only elevate myself but also contribute to the growth of others. This in turn creates a ripple effect: Since I improved how I show up my employees are better off, and they in turn show up better in their own interactions with others, and so on.

The best leaders I know prioritize the collective well-being of others over their personal comfort or gain. This is crucial to creating trust and loyalty. Leaders who embrace this mindset are better equipped to galvanize teams, create raving-fan collaboration and inspire others to deliver their very best.

Perpetual growth and adaptation are the hallmarks of a solid leadership journey. It demands a leader who is willing to confront their insecurities, challenge conventional wisdom, accept a paradigm shift and above all, appreciate the value of relationships and recognize the impact they have on those around them. Doing so does not render you a less significant leader; rather it amplifies your leadership acumen, showcasing your ability to harness the greatness of the people in your organization.

After reflecting on my own leadership journey, I have come to understand that the measure of my influence is measured in the success and well-being of those I lead, not about my own achievements. Investing in the leadership success of others improves productivity, work engagement and the work-life balance. When this is successful in government, the ripple effect can reach the areas that matter most—the communities and citizens we serve.

Author: Dean Gialamas is an executive manager with the County of Los Angeles Internal Services Department.  He leads a team in the executive office responsible for enterprise transformation, accountability and leadership development for a very large organization that support 40+ other county departments.  Dean is a lifelong leadership learner, government intraprenuer, certified high-performance coach and an energetic keynote speaker who can be reached at [email protected]

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 3.88 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *