January 10, 2012

The Soul of Leadership

While the U.S. is embroiled in election chatter, it’s interesting to watch the topic of leadership being tossed around like a pawn on a chess board. Many claim they are uniquely qualified to lead so let’s dig a little deeper into what it all means.

Think about your mentors, those people who have helped in your life and career along the way. They found somewhere deep inside you to motivate your strengths and help you realize your goals. These aren’t people who did your work for you but pushed you to do your work better in your way. You may have in turn become a mentor for others which brings tremendous satisfaction.

What Leadership Means

Leading without a title is the suggestion of Robin Sharma or as a mentor once said to me; "do the work and the gig will follow". Tony Robbins says we need to be armed with the strategies to accomplish our goals while getting out of own way. Most of us nod our head in agreement but we’re often left wondering how to actually do that.

Malcolm Gladwell opines there is no such thing as a self-made person. Generations past have afforded us opportunities to succeed. None of us does this alone not matter how it may appear. While Marcus Buckingham reminds us that we need to stop working on our weaknesses and focus solely on our strengths. Imagine an organization where your good work is encouraged and your shortcomings turned into prospects for others on the team who thrive where you may not.

Important Leadership Element

Envision your company as a family unit. How are you preparing your team for success and leadership? Is it a collaborative atmosphere or one of fear? Are strengths celebrated more than weaknesses highlighted? Does everyone have a clear vision on culture and objectives?

Balance and fairness look good on a well crafted business plan but in the heat of the battle, they can be tough to maintain. But they must remain top priorities because without it, you will be left with managers and bosses while leadership will be accidental at best. If you are in a lead position, make time for your people or watch the very thing you are working to build begin to crumble.

Instead of "lead, follow, or get out of the way", how about we all lead and see how that goes?

Kneale Mann

image credits: thechessworld
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