What leadership is has probably been defined a few million times in a few million different ways. Have you ever thought about what it means to you?
Truth is, we all have an idea about leadership, what it could mean, what it should mean, what it means to us…the good, the bad, the ugly…at work, at home, in church, in sports, etc. And before you continue reading, maybe think about what leadership means to you. What people come to mind? Do you have role models? Or things you have learned what not to do? What situations, what emotions? Does it have positive or negative connotations for you? Do you like being in leadership or rather avoid it? Being aware of what you think about leadership will help you become a more effective leader.
You can tell, I am not after an academic definition of leadership. I am also not proposing any standard definition. Leadership has many facets. There are different aspects to different people in different contexts and different situations. However, I do believe it is important that whoever is in leadership in some capacity needs to have an understanding of some simple principles:
Before we lead anyone else, we lead ourselves. The way we lead ourselves has an impact on how we lead others. We operate out of our values whether we are aware of those values or not. Our character reflects those values and the people we lead want to know that they can trust us. To reflect, what do you value as a leader and how are those values reflected in your behaviour?
As much as things have to get done, usually, they are done by people. If you want to achieve something, how you lead people matters. To reflect, are you more focused on tasks or people? Aim to write it down in a percentage, e.g. 80% task & 20% people. And then write a list with two columns – tasks vs people, or have a look at your calendar. Do you have a margin for your people?
Growth does not happen by looking back or staying in the present. It happens by pursuing a vision that is well communicated and that creates opportunity for people to align themselves with. To reflect, what is your vision and how do your people have room to develop themselves within this vision?
These are three basics that will help you to think about leadership and reflect on where you are at.
And if you do want to know what academic definition I would choose to define leadership if I had to, here you go. Brené Brown defines a leader “as anyone who takes the responsibility for finding potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential” (from Dare to Lead).
Happy Tuesday! (or whatever day you’re reading this)