Leadership is one of those topics that’s widely discussed and not just among Leaders. Everyone has an idea on what a Leader should look like, how they should act and what to expect from them. There is also a lot of discussions around the what they should not do, how they should not look like and of course, what not to expect from them. Leadership, is not just a hot topic but also, a confusing one.
When the time to lead comes, not everyone finds it as enjoyable as they might have thought it was going to be. Some other people do, which doesn’t mean they do it quite well just because they like it. Whatever the case, after some time of doing it you might find yourself asking yourself a few questions.
I’ve found these three I write below to be the most recurrent ones in my mind. I think it’s fair to say that the answer I have for each one is absolutely personal and as such, it may not reflect what happens to other people or how others feel about it.
The most common question I’ve heard or read when it comes to Leadership is “do you lead, or are you lead?” as if the quality of your Leadership depended on how much of a bully or a pushover you really are. I’ve found that to be an unfair or biased question as it tends to separate “leaders” from “bosses”. I believe any question around quality tends to separate those two, which I guess is ok at a certain point of your assignment as a leader and yet, it sounds more like a limitation than a statement. Can you be a boss and never a Leader? Can you Lead without being a boss?
Instead of that, why not focus on a more real question about you. It goes beyond motivation though, it is more around who you are professionally, and why you’ve decided to remain a Leader. That’s right: remain, as in keep your post.
I’ve heard more often than not, that “Leaders are chosen”, either by those who will follow or by someone who delegates power. I seldom hear people asking “why do you keep doing it?”. Have you wondered? Why do you keep doing it?
The Servant Leader. That’s one way to put it, which is basically a statement itself. It’s also a shift in the Leadership Paradigm: true Leaders serve rather than dictate or mandate. Again, another reference to the quality of your management. The more you serve, the better Leader you are. Only, what does it mean to serve others as a Leader? It’s not about being the good samaritan but about you taking good care of those who follow you. It is more about you putting them first and working your ass off for them, is it not?
But do you care? I mean, you can follow a manual, you can listen to your mentors and learn the “how to”, become a Servant Leader and be done with it…but do you care?
Maybe the right approach would be: should you care? I often answer that question to myself: yes, of course. It’s all about the golden rule at one point: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but then again…it is also about you. Why wouldn’t you care, if they do?
Leadership is about relationships. You can’t lead if there’s no one that will follow. You will be chosen and you will be expected to deliver. Those who work for you will loop up to you, and those who you work for will demand results.
It sounds a lot like marriage, or friendship or even parenthood and like those, it is a way of building relations, which takes time and sacrifice. There is no relationship that doesn’t demand sacrifice, which basically means compromising.
At one point, you will realize that Leading is about Leaving some stuff behind, so you can adopt others. You will learn to compromise for your team, for your mission and most importantly: for you. Leading is not just about giving everyone else what they need: it is also about finding your best version of yourself and sharing it in order to lead.
Ask yourself these questions every now and then and see what you find. Answer these and you might find something about yourself and your Leadership style that might surprise you, no matter how long you have been doing the job.
I just did today…and I wrote this blog 🙂
Also published on Medium.