Working Together to Make A Difference.
I am coming to realize that leadership, like almost everything else is a learned skill. Just like the “born salesperson” is a myth, so is the “born leader”. There may be certain personalities that adapt more quickly to leadership, but without a specific set of learned behavior that moves us forward in these roles one cannot succeed.
You may not be in a formal leadership role, but wherever you are, you can look for the opportunity to lead. It doesn’t matter where you are, how old you are, or what you do, there is occasion to lead. Leaders make a difference, inspire others, and change things.
What is the role of the leader? I believe the effective leader is a servant. Ken Blanchard identifies two distinct parts of leadership. First, being a visionary who sets course and destination. Second, being an implementer who focuses on doing things right with an emphasis on serving others.
Creating a powerful vision is a challenge that starts internally. Sometimes our profession does not seem that noble. What is compelling about working on computers, or selling insurance, or even manufacturing widgets? We all want some mission or purpose in work that brings us fulfillment. This is the goal of a leader. To lay out a vision that engages the team. And, I would argue that it is more successful if it goes beyond being the biggest or the best, and reaches toward making a difference in this world. At least, that is how I am inspired. I can grab hold of helping others, or making a difference, or mentoring others.
Let’s embrace a vision that has purpose! I am learning to do this myself, and am encouraged that the resulting victories are worth having. Does your vision give purpose to those who you influence as a leader? Walt Disney, when he started his theme parks, said they were in the happiness business. There is so much more purpose in that, than being in the theme park business.
If you have an inspiring vision, then the goal is to paint a picture for others. For some of us nuts-and-bolts, problem solver types, the creativity of painting a vision for others to see is a challenge. Imagine if we began to realize that vision, what would it look like? In my world, it might mean having the most talented team on the planet, being paid at the top of their category, providing outstanding, knock-your-socks-off service to our clients, and having fun while doing it. The results would be healthy growth with revenue generated to reach out and help those in need, time to mentor, and the ability help others in a greater way. We are on our way, but much more ground to gain!
Your vision may look quite different, and mine is, well, a work in progress. The point is to have one, inspire others, and make a difference. And, take some steps in the right direction, even if you haven’t figured it all out just yet! Most of us haven’t either.