“Leadership is an action, not a position.”
~ Donald McGannon
If you think back to those who have been most influential in your life, those who have impacted you both personally and professionally, you realize that it isn’t because of the position they held in a particular company; it is because they were active participants in the operation of things. They weren’t armchair quarterbacks or backseat drivers; they were coworkers. This is definitely a motivator. Don’t just sit there – do something.
Unfortunately, we often twist the picture that this model paints as we translate it into our daily lives. Suddenly, we feel that being “hands-on” means handling every little detail ourselves. In truth, that approach will only drive you and the people that you work with crazy. Real leadership isn’t about exercising control; it’s about exercising wisdom. Yes, it is an action, but taking action doesn’t mean doing it yourself; in many instances, the best action that we can take is choosing not to carry out a task ourselves but to delegate.
When a real leader delegates, it is not barking out the orders but equipping the person with the proper tools to carry out the task(s). It is an investment advocating for success at every level. It is an investment in the company, the process, and, most importantly, the people with whom you work. An effective leader builds up and encourages other leaders. In southern kitchen speak – You can’t stir every pot on the stove by yourself, so you might as well share the recipe.Another critical component of an effective leader is reality. No one likes to feel as though they are coming up short, but it’s crucial to know your weaknesses, your stumbling blocks, and your work style. These things do not disqualify you as a leader; they define help define your process so that you can lead well.
Great leaders are authentic, not perfect. These are the leaders who staff their weaknesses, rearrange the structure of stumbling blocks, and allow their work style to help complete the tasks not compete with it.
Challenge yourself today, don’t rest in your position of leadership; put your leadership to work!