Leadership Distinction #19: Action

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Finding it hard to find meaning? Your Actions Will Reveal

It is easy to get twisted into a cognitive and conversational pretzel when trying to explain what meaning is. We grapple with the meaning of meaning. But for leaders, and for those who seek to be, both of which are action-oriented types by definition, there is a way to cut through the mental gymnastics, and it is this: the meaning of something is the Action you will take.

Now at this point you may be thinking, ‘well, no, meaning can also be what I think or feel about something’. And if you are, my response would be that thoughts and feelings that don’t transform into Action are, well, meaningless. 

When we move into Action as leaders we’ve already journeyed from the starting point of the imagined future, crystallized the idea into a fairly precise and communicate-able vision, and forged belief out of that teeming well of apprehensions and doubts inside our heads. The objective we seek is meaningful – it means something to us. The time and treasure we commit to it by our Action gives the only testimony that meaning can garner.

A would-be leader takes creative Action in the recruitment of followers. She moves from imagination into Action in order to confirm a harbored belief, then to gain a follower, then to manage the work, and finally to generate the result of the vision.

With a follower giving their assent – which marks the onset of leading — Action amplifies and widens. Others have now caught onto your meaning and made it their own. And when it becomes their own meaning followers will take Action to lead others. Into Action. Do you get my meaning?

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Episode 19