For me, leadership has always been about guidance, leading others to their goals. It’s never about “being a hammer” (that’s another post for another time) or just checking off a box.
The root word is “lead”. No, not the metal! Lead, as in, leader. There are many definitions to this word, but the ones I relate to are:
1. the act of showing a person or group of people what to do; and
2. to manage a group of people; to be the person who makes decisions that other people choose to follow.
When we engage people to ask for help, mentorship, guidance, etc., or WE are asked to be that person for someone, we should consider the LEADership potential and how we want to engage and monitor both progress and understanding.
Some see leadership as very…well, heavy, as a burdensome responsibility — hence the word “LEAD” (as in heavy). The person may find themselves overthinking or just agreeing with the protégé/mentee says or commits to.
Then, there are those who simply “check off boxes” and don’t put much thought into what they are saying to someone, else. They just want to get it over with so they can move on to the next person or project.
Yet, there are some who are “hammers”, really not caring about anything other than the next project but hammer responsibility into others, cast blame with things go wrong and take credit for what others around them get done. It becomes an over-inflated ego trip.
Do these examples sound familiar to you?
Leadership is, or should be, about helping another reach their goal or goals. It’s a journey to take with someone, not work against them. Depending on the journey, it could be an enlightenment for you both.
So, why is it so “heavy” that it seems like a burden?
- Time commitment.
- Perceived lack of knowledge, either from leader to protégé/mentee or vice-versa.
- Perceived “waste” of time when something else could be done.
In my non-profit membership, I’ve watched people struggle through a project because their leader or mentor didn’t (or couldn’t) give them enough instructions to remove the guesswork. I’ve also watched people excel under their own power, figure things out, and do something amazing! In my assessment, it’s the latter that becomes both student and teacher to another during the leadership process.
When you remove the LEAD from LEADership, you find some common ground, and you find a way to show or impart to someone the idea or concept they had been searching for.
L = Love. What you do and helping others succeed.
E = Empathy. You’ve likely “been-there-done-that” and don’t want to see someone go through “all that” without help.
A = Accompany. It’s a journey; it should be fun and educational for you both.
D = Demonstrate. Set the tone and the pace. You lead by example, by what you demonstrate to others. This action encourages others to choose to follow you.
Getting the LEAD out of leadership is NOT easy. It can be done; it takes conscious, persistent thought and action with one simple question in the forefront of your mind:
“How can I best help this person succeed?”
I’ll discuss “derailing” success in a separate post.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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