Leader Distinction #1 – Leader
At What Point does Life Begin, for a Leader
Look at anything too closely and the image blurs. Fix your gaze upon anything in fascination with it and your connection with reality blurs.
I’m suggesting we take a giant step back from our altogether too close and too starry-eyed view of leadership. Each of us is moving fast in a world that’s moving even faster. And blurry vision is dangerous at any speed. It’s time for a re-clarification – a re-acquainting with what it genuinely means to lead others, not what it means to bear a title or to be a social media darling.
You are leading only when someone chooses to follow you, when they otherwise do not have to. You gain the free assent of a follower when your ideas and/or your actions inspire them to seek the same future that you have imagined, and that you are pursuing with all the vigor that is in you.
What starts with your concern – your dissatisfaction with current circumstances — morphs into your vision for something better, converts into action in the world, evolves into gaining followers, and transforms into an intended outcome – a better world in some way than the one you saw at the beginning. This is the event cycle of leading. And there can be no more complex task in this world for any person to execute than to complete this cycle of change.
Because it is so difficult it is rare to see the cycle completed, to witness someone playing out the full part in generating intended change. Most of the time what we witness are people in ‘leadership positions’ exercising their assigned organizational authority, and we call them Leaders. Perhaps we do so because we are so yearning to find genuine Leaders. What I offer in this series are key Leadership Distinctions – intended to renew and restore clarity for what it means to genuinely lead. I intend that it help us locate them, encourage them, and follow them.