Sunday, March 30, 2014

Leadership is...

Leadership is not something that is outside of us.  Leadership is in us…  The qualities of Leadership are in fact how we see the world.  Leadership, that is the way we act in the world and towards others.  Leadership happens or does not happen because of how we see the world and our place in it.

For instance…

If we see the world as a safe place, where giving love, credit, appreciation, and thanks do not diminish us in any way, we feel free to give those things and more to the people around us.

When there is a limited supply of everything, and we need to hoard love, praise, and credit, we will not be able to give it.

If we really care about the people around us, we will be interested in actually listening to understand what they are saying.  We will care about the feeling coming across in the way they communicate, and ‘hear’ that, in addition to the words they are saying.

If we care about people we will take the time to state our thoughts in a way that is easy for our listener to understand, and know that one size does not fit all.  We care enough that we do not get upset and take it personally if and when the listener does not understand what we are saying in the way in which we intend.  We can simply restate our thoughts another way, until the listener ‘hears’ us.

When we don’t care about others, we use communication to tell others what we need them to know.  We only listen to others, and hear enough, to form a rebuttal or argument, and get them to agree with ‘our side’.  We do not listen to understand, and certainly not to hear how the speaker is feeling.

If we care about people we will be interested in building strong relationships with them.  We will make the things that are important to them important to us.  We do what we can to make them feel special, and help them achieve their goals.  We encourage them, and cheer at their success, because we care about them.  We understand that these kinds of strong, honest relationships offer us benefits too, and that’s not why we are there.  Seeing others succeed does not make us jealous… we are truly happy for them.

When we care only for ourselves, we use people.  The only reason to get to know others is to get them to help us get what we want.  We call for help when we need it, however we are not there for others when they need help.  Others are tools to be used and put down.

If we are enough, in and of ourselves, we can do what we think is right.  We can then take responsibility, not only for our actions, and ourselves but also for the actions of those who work for and with us.  We know that mistakes and failings do not diminish who we are.  We believe in ourselves, and can handle criticism, and do not need to pass it on to others.  We can give away credit, and build up others without needing to keep it for ourselves.

When we do not fee like we are enough; when we need to be held up by others, we cannot accept responsibility.  We blame others when things go sideways.  We are never the ones at fault.  We will bend to prevailing thoughts, and can be swayed by others.  We do not stand for anything unless others are standing with us.

If we are confident in our abilities and ourselves, we understand that we don’t know everything.  We challenge ourselves to improve our own skills.  We have a clear picture of our abilities, and don’t use them to measure ourselves as people.  Since our abilities are not a measure of our worth, we can more easily hear criticism as helpful feedback.  We continue to learn and grow throughout our lives.

We may be more skilled at some of these qualities and less skilled at others.  We will be interested in improving all of them, and not for monetary gain or the admiration of others, but for the value to ourselves, and our ability to help others.

Leadership is a way of being.  It’s a way of thinking about ourselves, and the world around us.  That is why we hire for this way of thinking and being in the world.  It does not make sense to hire for any other reason, nor does it make sense to promote for any other reason.  People who see the world in this way will be Leaders, either for you or for someone else.  They will make a difference wherever they go.  Befriend them, and work with them as long as you can.  Teach them what you know, and learn what you can from them.  And appreciate the opportunity to know them.

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