Countless books have been written, presentations delivered, and workshops conducted on leadership: what great leaders do; how great leaders became great leaders; how you, too, can become a great leader. It’s understandable. After all, leadership, or the lack of it, can make or break an organization.
As a leader, then, you could be forgiven for thinking that leadership is all about you. Yet it is and it isn’t. True, there are certain traits you need to cultivate and behaviors you need to exhibit to be an effective leader. However, your success as a leader isn’t ultimately determined by what you do. It’s determined by what your people experience. It doesn’t matter that you’re telling if they’re not hearing. Or that you’re coaching if they’re not learning. Or that you’re empowering them if they don’t feel empowered. What matters is what they perceive, they believe, and they feel.
Why is that important? Because they’re the ones doing the real work. They’re providing the service; they’re making the product; they’re engaging the customer. Their actions are what validate your leadership.
Too often, leaders are self-centered. They “check the boxes” of what leaders are supposed to do and then if they don’t get the results, well, it must be because of their people. Yet maybe those leaders haven’t created the right environment to enable their people to perform at their best.
Leadership author, John Maxwell, once wrote, “If you think you’re leading, but no one is following, then you’re only taking a walk.”
Leadership. Take a look over your shoulder. Are you walking alone?
Make it happen.
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