“Leadership” seems to be one of those words that is thrown around today in a much over-used fashion. Not unlike “success” and “motivational” and “outside the box.” What the heck do those words really mean?
The answer lies in a slight variation of that question; what do those words mean TO YOU?
To me, leadership comes in three forms.
The first type of leader is by title. If you go into any kindergarten classroom in this country, teachers choose “leaders” every day. In order to be a “leader,” one does not have to have any special skill or knowledge or credentials. They need only be the first one who got in line that day. They are “the leader.”
What does the teacher then tell the other children in the class to do? That’s right…“follow the leader.”
Now, in kindergarten, follow the leader is an efficient and usually effective way of moving several children in an orderly manner. However, in adulthood, following the leader who is nothing more than a “leader” in title is often neither effective nor respected (rightfully so).
The second type is a “managing” leader. There are people who have been put into a leadership role of some kind that do have respect for their team, their team has respect for them, they have things they need to accomplish, and they accomplish those things. Rather efficient. Rather effective. It is what it is. They do their job.
This type leader gets things done and makes sure the boxes get checked. They make sure their teams are being productive with the right things at the right time in order to makes sure the numbers get hit or the quarter looks good on paper.
Being more a “manager” than a true leader, this type of leader also spends days chasing people and “herding cats.”
The third type is the only true leader. There is not as far a leap from good to great as you may think. The difference is quite simple.
Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. (Tom Peters)
That last line is worth re-reading. How do they do that?
The first type of “leader” goes through the motions and simply “walks his or her dogs” everyday.
The second type of leader puts some real effort into “leading” a team of followers. He or she is often good at “getting others to do things” and “making sure others are on task.”
Great leadership has less to do with looking over the shoulders of people and more to do with empowering others to look over their own shoulders.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. (John Quincy Adams)
Of course, we all know that if you give a man a fish you feed him for the day, but if you teach him to fish you feed him for the rest of his life. That is the difference between true leaders and any other kind of “leader.” True leaders teach, show how to apply, and then support.
What type of leader are you? You may hold many leadership titles in your life: Director, Manager, Mom, Dad, Friend, Coach, Teacher, Business Owner.
The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do. (Kobe Bryant)
Are you walking dogs or are you empowering others? If you are not sure of the answer, look at the outcomes you are getting. They will scream the answer to you.
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