‘I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head’-Princess Diana.
As a Career Coach, ‘Leadership’ is a topic that is always discussed during my client sessions.
Here are some of the more frequent questions that are asked:
- How do I take my leadership to the next level?
- How do I become a leader?
- What does a successful leader look like?
- How do I become a more authentic leader?
- When will I discover or know that I am a leader?
- How do I climb the ladder of success so I can become a leader?
- What is a great leader?
- How to gain more power through leadership?
This 3-part series will take you on a leadership journey.
I believe leaders evolve over time by constantly changing to become better versions of themselves through self awareness, thoughtful reflection, and growth.
The word ‘leadership’ has many standard definitions and there are no shortage of experts and gurus who have shared their most impactful definitions:
Peter Drucker, Educator, Author and Father of Management Thinking writes:
‘Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitation’.
Liz Wiseman, Researcher, Author, and Executive Advisor writes:
‘When leaders teach, they invest in their people’s ability to solve and avoid problems in the future’.
Patrick Lencioni, American author of books on business management writes:
‘Leaders must display their humanness. Those under their authority must be empowered and have the courage to engage in honest dialogue’
From the small sampling above, there is certainly no shortage of opinions, thoughts and even discrepancies on what the word ‘leadership’ means.
The topic of ‘leadership’ has become a complex web of myths, impossible expectations, and confusion.
As I am writing this article, there are more 57,136 books on the topic of ‘leadership’ selling on Amazon.
It appears that anyone can publish a book on ‘leadership’ and claim to be the foremost authority.
The ‘leadership’ space certainly offers a wide variety of literature for the average reader, but also may contribute to the misunderstanding and misconceptions about the topic of great ‘leadership’.
The subject of ‘leadership’ is a billion-dollar business. Many “Gurus” are dominating the online space and have millions of followers/subscribers.
People appear to be looking for a magic pill or solution that will allow them to transform into a great leader.
It is certainly not helpful when society labels great leaders as those who have money, a massive social media presence and power.
So, when we think of great leaders, the most famous, powerful, and wealthy come to mind, especially in the business world.
Sir. Richard Branson, Business Magnate, Investor and Author.
Jay- Z, American Rapper, Songwriter, Record Executive, Businessman & Record Producer.
Jeff Bezos, American Business Magnate, Media Proprietor, and Investor.
Each of these leaders is larger than life. They have charisma, money, power, and influence. All have a tremendous work ethic, innovative minds, focus, and passion.
But why have these leaders become our inspiration?
Why do we aspire to become leaders like Sir Richard, Jay- Z and Jeff?
Is it the perception of their power to persuade, market domination, position of control or infinite purchasing power?
It might be all of the above. Which means, we may have developed a false sense of what ‘leadership’ means.
It appears that society’s perception, conceptualization, and expectations of outstanding leadership has shifted.
- Social media dominance
- Extravagant lifestyles
- Important titles
- And moving up the ladder
Have become the pillars of perception.
What we think success and great ‘leadership’ looks like, is based on the stories we are told via social media, articles, and literature.
Looking at ‘leadership’ using only this lens is not only confusing but demotivating and does not inspire a call to action.
If we dig a little deeper, we will discover that Sir Richard, Jay-Z and Jeff have achieved massive success because they are great leaders.
Society/culture has revealed or shared ONLY THE RESULTS of their success to the masses.
Sir Richard is constantly pictured as having a fabulous life filled with fun and thrills.
Jay-Z with one of his many toys:
Jeff Bezos with his large yachts and exotic vacation homes:
But what we don’t see or realize is how much time and effort Sir Richard, Jay-Z and Jeff invested in their leadership skills over a lifetime, to achieve this massive success.
They lead themselves first by:
- Being relentless about their personal development.
- Understanding that failure is a teacher.
- Becoming a lifelong learner.
- Holding themselves accountable to a personal set of values and beliefs.
- Always playing the long game when it comes to success.
- Having a persistent work ethic.
- Engaging in daily reflection.
- Using experience, good or bad as a weapon to mastery.
- Embracing and honouring the leadership journey.
In fact, Jay-Z outlines his personal experiences as a great teacher to becoming a leader in the record business in his book, Empire State of Mind. The book can be purchased using the Amazon link below:
Leadership mastery is a process.
Even though our culture tends to focus on the outcomes of great leadership. (i.e. Success, money, power, and a luxurious lifestyle).
I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with achieving these things.
Realize that leadership is a journey. The gentleman outlined in this article did not get to where they are today…without becoming masters of their craft.
Leadership success is earned and it’s impact is great.
We all want to become better leaders so we can achieve greater impact.
The question is why?
Why is leadership important to you?
Take out your journal and ask yourself these powerful questions:
- How do you define leadership?
- Why is being a leader important to you?
- How do you show leadership today?
- Who are the leaders that inspire you? Why?
- If you could interview one leader, who would it be? What would you ask them?
Before we venture to Part 2 of this leadership series, I want to caution you on what society believes great leadership should be or our culture’s perception of leadership.
I also want to share that when the media shows wealthy, powerful, and influential leaders, you are only getting half the story. You are watching or reading the results or outcomes of masterful leadership and success.
The other half (and most important) is the leadership journey.
Mainly, the work, drive, self awareness, and passion that went into their success as great leaders.
This is where we begin Part 2 of this leadership series.
Self mastery and the art of leading yourself first.
- There is no magic pill or quick solution to great leadership.
- Society’s perception of great leadership might be skewed.
- Do not be fooled by only viewing the results or fruits of a famous leaders’ labor by looking through a limited lens.
- Journal the answers to the questions in the ‘Take Action’ section of the article. It will become the foundation to your personal leadership journey.
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder