The next few briefings are designed to powerfully address some of the misconceptions about leadership. We will go straight into the heart of leadership, nonbiased and unscripted. It is not necessarily the most popular version or what one would like to hear, but it is the naked truth.
It seems that some people mistake leadership for a position of power, which is authority. Although leaders seem to have power, it does not come from control or domination or designation. It mainly comes from whom they are being and what they are representing.
Over the years, we have witnessed people in the workplace who, when promoted to a higher position, paid more attention to the privileges and the perks of the position than to the context of it. Authority can be handed to someone; leadership needs to be earned. In other words, while authority can be appointed, leadership must always be claimed.
The following is some of the fundamentals and core elements of leadership. You may want to consider if you are up to it!
- A leader is what a leader does – You’ve heard the expression before, “People pay attention what you do, not to what you say.” You can’t use lip service as a form of leadership. If you don’t walk the talk, they will not follow. Your credibility will go downhill, and you lose your turn in line. Consider that as you climb higher, you should allow yourself to possess or have fewer privileges and rights. After all, people are watching.
- Leadership does not come with an On/Off switch – once a leader, always a leader. You can’t turn it off; take a break or go to sleep. Once you claim your place as a leader, people will always expect your leadership, any time, anywhere, any place, under any circumstances. No ifs, no buts, and no excuses. Beware – if you can’t stand the heat, don’t enter the kitchen. Remember, people do not extend sympathy to failed leaders. After all, you enrolled them in who you are and what you are up to, and besides – you’re the one that gets paid the big bucks!
- Yes, it is lonely at the top – you are on your own and truly; no one cares. You asked for it; you got it. The only lifeline you have is your stand and your commitment. Moving forward step by step and sticking to your values and principles no matter what. You do or die by your own sword. At your funeral, there will be those who say you were the best, there are those who could care less, and then you become old news.
- You are as good as yesterday’s results – what you going to do for us today? This is the fundamental daily question. You can’t rest on yesterday’s accomplishments too long. There are leaders in the waiting room. Do not try to explain, justify or reason yourself. It will not work (maybe…once or twice at most). Leadership is about translating your vision or possibility into specific and measurable quantified results, in reality – and nothing less.
- Leadership is not a popularity contest – it is not about whether people like you or not. Being liked has nothing to do with leadership. It is not about being popular or about the great personality you may possess or what kind of a person you are. Although those things can add to the total sum of your leadership, it is really about people respecting you. It is about doing. What is right vs. doing the right thing, being complete with yourself, and doing it all without agreement and without a loss of power.
Putting all humor aside, leadership is what it is, whether you like it or not. Leadership is not a place to get to or reward to have. It is a place to come from. It is like being on a journey without a destination. It is about the present time – right here, right now – and who you are being in the matter.
Leadership is what transforms a vision into a reality. It is the bold speaking of your intentions…and the actions, which speak louder than the words. It is making the impossible possible, time after time after time, year after year after year. Leadership is the power to create the circumstances. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.