Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the doubting. It is for those who are willing to risk failure to accomplish greatness.
Leaders are constantly on parade. They have an audience that is scrutinizing their every move. A follower’s ability to emulate the leader will enhance their ability to ingratiate themselves within the organization, to be recognized by management, and to successfully move upward.
The cues from a leader are not difficult to pick up. They are displayed in multiple ways: the way they walk, dress, speak, write, what they drive, how they drive, the people they associate with, and how they treat others.
Do they park in a reserved space just for them, or do they park with everyone else? Do they put their pants (or skirt) on one leg at a time, or do they jump into them?
Do you want your organization to exemplify patience or irritability? Acceptance or disdain? Sensitivity or arrogance?
You can write all of the personnel policies you want, but what you personally exhibit is what will be played back to you.
You think it is cute and effective to drop a four-letter word (besides debt) in a conversation, then don’t be surprised if you hear the same thing played back to you in future conversations. You are being mimed.
An experienced leader knows that they are constantly on parade; they recognize that the only way to be successful is to be genuine. You may be able to fake it until you make it in other areas of life, but in leadership only what is authentic is effective.
The culture of any organization is a direct reflection of its leaders. How leaders lead is how the organization performs.
The actions of a leader validate those same actions in those they surround themselves with. If you are displeased with what you see going on inside your church, your organization, or your family, take a look in the mirror. It is a reflection of you.
When I view this picture I reflect as much on my role as a father as I do as a leader in business. It is fortunate that parents do not obsess on the effect they have on their children. They wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if they did. Only in hindsight does a father or mother realize how their choices and character affected their children.
In a recent conversation I had with one of my adult children, a comment they made in response to a suggestion I made was off-putting to me. I didn’t agree. It irritated me. I don’t believe I said anything explicit, but the communication between child and parent is transparent; they know when you are irritated or pleased.
My adult child turned to me with this remark: “Don’t blame me for how I turned out. You are the one who raised me to be this way! If you don’t like it, take ownership for it. You are the one that shaped me!” That was a few months ago, and the comment resounds in my head like it was yesterday! I’m not haunted by it, as I am blessed daily by all of my children, but it made me realize that if I’m riding down a gravel road on my motorcycle with a sidecar tipped up dangerously in the air and one of my children is following me on their tricycle, they are going to be riding the trike on two wheels as well.