Can you identify the actual leader in the photo on the left?
It could be the fellow with the crowbar - or - it could just as easily be one of the people doing the pushing. Your own view of who is actually leading in this picture will tell you a great deal about your own approach to leadership.
The real leader is actually one of the folks working. That is real leadership.
If you have learned enough about leadership to be an effective leader, it will not matter to you who is acting as leader for this small team. The only thing that matters is that team goals are being accomplished - and that everyone has decided (on their own) to participate in the attainment of these goals.
How does the true leader accomplish this?
Leadership is not about authority to rule. It is about what we owe and to whom we owe it. People are the most important consideration in the exercise of leadership. Motivation is the second. This approach is best described as "Servant Leadership" and is based on the body of knowledge initiated by Robert Greenleaf.
Some will appreciate and understand all of this. Some will have difficulty with it. To the latter, I offer the following simple approach to becoming a Great Leader:
Find those folks in your organisation who can motivate dispirited teams of people to attain difficult objectives under impossible circumstances and watch carefully how they make this happen. If you cannot recognise this skilset in others, you will have difficulty making use of it yourself.
If you are new to a leadership role, learn from them. If they work on your team - support them. They are your real leaders. If you wish to have your team succeed consistently, emulate them. If you do not have such people on your team, mentor and motivate some to become them, hire them from outside, or promote them into positions of real responsibility.
For a simplified description of what leaders do and how they do it, read Ned's Rules of Engagement.
MOTIVA Leadership Tools
Click on any of the links below to download material that can help you understand leadership and your own leadership role.
- Microsoft Corporation Video Presentation, The Greatest Asset, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KagTnYjsFG0
- Download the MOTIVA Leadership Course Syllabus Here
- Download the full reference version of Ned's Rules of Engagement (used on the Leadership Course)
- Download 82 Erudite quotes that Good Leaders can use