If you show me the what, when, who, where and why I may follow.
What is leadership? More often than naught, when that question arises the discussion veers into what leadership isn’t. One of the greatest challenges we all face is knowing what we want in life. We know what we don’t want but struggle to figure out what we want. Defining leadership offers a similar conundrum.
So, let’s begin with what leadership isn’t! In my experience I believe leadership isn’t about title or seniority. It isn’t about having the loudest voice or charisma that captures the room. To the surprise of many, it also isn’t about management. Leadership isn’t a series of cliches or trying to say the right thing like an aspiring high school president candidate trying to be everything to everyone!
I am always reminded of the line, “Don’t tell me your funny…tell me a joke!” Don’t tell me your a leader…just LEAD!
Leadership is founded in the desire to set others up to succeed. To recognize the skill sets of each team member and plotting a course that will take advantage of the potential contribution each offers. Leadership is about creating a trusting environment where the process of connecting, communicating, collaborating and communicating with the single minded purpose of conquering takes place.
Leadership is recognizing the perfectly imperfect nature that is all part of working with others. Leadership is organic and fluid in nature. No two days are the same and if you are hoping there will be a time where you hit a home run and all leadership woes will fall to the wayside…think again. That is not going to happen.
Leadership is not a sprint…it is a marathon. I have run 3 marathons in my lifetime and within each run there have been multiple chapters that make up the journey. In one moment I felt great and thought I was going to waltz through the Honolulu Marathon and then after straining a calf muscle, I found myself in tears, praying and searching for strength all in a bid to get to the finish line. To do so, I had to be honest with myself, accept my new limitations, re-frame the entire experience, plot real time solutions and coach myself up through a crisis.
This is the perfect moment to segue to Coaching.
If Leadership is art of setting others up to succeed in a bid to achieve an identified goal, Coaching is the mechanism that leaders use to teach, inspire and convince. Coaching creates challenge seekers. By providing challenge solving specific skill sets and doing so in a manner that connects with the team on a visceral level, you have successfully coached.