"Are you a leader? If so.... then stand up."
For years I had bad dreams about that question! I spent years agonizing about it.... Sure I needed therapy! : ( : )
I had just recruited ten or so of my teammates and staff to attend an international leadership conference half way across the country. A leader I greatly respected gave a rousing and passionate plea for those attending who were "leaders" to rise up and "LEAD." "Leaders... lead!" he implored.
Then he shared his ways to know if you were a gifted leader. After each one, he said, "Is that you?"
I was really confused. "Hmmm... well, that kind of sounds like me. Check." "Well, nope. I don't do that."
All in all, I was about a 5 out of his 1o. Then, without much warning, he challenged: "If you go through this list and you are a leader: STAND UP!"
Now, about 15 years later, I know three things.
1. That was an awkward and confusing moment. (I stood... but now wonder if the reason I stood was because of the ten people I knew sitting around me.)
2. I AM a leader.
3. I'm NOT a leader in his definition.
Some have no doubt: They know they're "leaders." Others wonder: "Am I a leader?" Do you ever wonder?
First a definition: WHAT IS A LEADER? Here's somewhat of a helpful oversimplification: at it's root: a leader is one who gets others to go from HERE.... to THERE.
Here = what is
There = what is not... at least yet.
Being a leader involves movement and change of people, groups or organizations. Yes, for the good or the bad. But take away position, uniform, education or given authority and Leadership creates or influences change.
Over the past ten or so years, I have worked with or coached numerous movers and shakers or "change agents." In my experience, many were leaders. BUT, they lead from here to there in vastly different ways.
1. Entrepreneurial Leaders: They initiate groups, enterprises, organizations or communities for others to participate in. They often use tools of vision and a willingness to recruit others to participate by giving time, money or energy to get something going that does not currently exist.
2. Example Leaders: They inspire or instruct others by their own example or story. Based on what they share, others are motivated to do something and act.
3. Creative Leaders: They use imagination, inventiveness or ingenuity to inspire others to "think different, see or experience what they might not have before. The product they create may be art, written materials, code, invention or new forms.
4. Coaching Leaders: They envision, empower, inspire or equip others to "play their game" and move from where they are to where they need to go and ultimately win their own game. (They don't manage or "get" them to do what is not already inside of them.)
5. Strategic Leaders: They lead by helping chart a course to get from here (the status quo) to there (a desired future or solved problem). They often use tools like charts, projections, financial plans,budgets and business plans.
6. Managerial Leaders: They empower and serve workers and organizations by helping them accomplish tasks and tactics and set and stay on track to reach goals.
7. Motivational Leaders: They get others doing things and accomplishing goals by their powerful hope and communication skills that encourage action, risk or perseverance. They challenge the status quo by their belief that a better future can be attained. "We can do it!" Their tools might include speaking, writing, or sharing resources.
8. Spiritual Leaders: These leaders inspire action by pointing others to God and to His power, peace, purpose strength and leadings. Others come away encouraged to let God show up in their lives after engaging a spiritual leader.
9. Informational Leaders: They educate, teach and use knowldge (at times intellectual) so that everyone knows and can act. These leaders gain knowledge... and share it so others can do something as well.
10. Relational Leaders: They work to build relationships between others to accomplish things. They might build community, collaboration or just harmonious understanding so that change can take place. More and more lately have realized how little would get accomplished without relationships, connections or trust between people.
You may fit themselves in a few of these categories.
BUT, take just a minute to reflect on this:
1. Which of these is your TOP leadership style?
2. Do you have a #2? A #3?
3. Are you currently operating in a capacity that fully utilizes your top leadership bent? (Why or why not?)
4. If you are currently NOT operating, in that way, you feel fulfilled, content and happy, then are you willing to change...please get out of "here" and start moving to "there?" (If not, why not?)
One more idea: If you lead an organization, these may also be a helpful lens to better lead others on your team and empower them. Acknowledge and Affirm these leadership traits in them. (If you have them: your spouse or children too!)
As always, LOVE your comments. You may even comment using your best leadership bent!
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