“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” ~ John C. Maxwell
When you become a new parent, you are automatically responsible for another person. You take on a role that requires you to lead by example and your actions have much more impact than your words. There’s no book or training about this. It’s something that is universal and understood.
For many weeks now, I have been thinking about how this thought relates to Leaders and leadership in general.
I recently found myself having the same expectations of the Leaders I work with. I realized that for me, there is an unconscious expectation that Leaders must live up to their responsibilities, lead by example and show the way for their team to be the best they can be.
When you become a Leader, are you taking on a lifetime commitment to leading yourself and others?
After some pause and reflection, my heart gave a resounding YES.
When I come across companies who are struggling, my first thought is to check in with their leadership team. Who are the Leaders? What are their personal core values? Are they aligned as a team? Do they truly understand their culture? Do they have the ability and drive to communicate and implement a clear vision throughout the organization?
What most Leaders forget when they start a new business or they are promoted into a leadership role, is that they are constantly under the microscope. Whether they want to be or not, it’s the reality of being a Leader.
With that being said, it’s not about being perfect. We are all human and can falter at times. What’s more important is that Leaders understand that their role is greater than they may think. There is a responsibility and expectation to be your best and to continuously grow yourself as a Leader and human being, as others look up to you as their Leader.
As a Leader “under the microscope”, here’s how your actions can be interpreted in an unfavorable light:
Leader shows up as…and team sees:
- Leader’s door is closed…Leader is too busy. Leader isn’t available.
- Leader is late or does not attend the meeting…Leader does not care.
- Leader is tired and has low energy…Leader is not happy with me or the team.
- Leader does not show appreciation…Leader does not care or know what I’m doing.
- Leader is constantly on the go or not visible…Leader is distracted and not focused.
I know we can’t control what people will think of us. However, we must understand that everything we do as Leaders is magnified.
As a Leader “under the microscope”, here’s how your actions can inspire and drive teams to better engagement and performance:
- When a Leader says hello, it can put a smile on their team member’s face all day.
- When a Leader recognizes a particular action, it can motivate their team members to repeat the performance.
- When a Leader is present and actively listening, it can build trust and confidence in their team members.
- When a Leader consistently projects a positive and championing energy, it can inspire and drive the team to meet their goals.
- When a Leader is more visible, he or she can effectively demonstrate their authentic leadership approach (core values and purpose) and create other authentic leaders around them.
As Leaders, we share a desire to lead others. We understand how it feels to be led by great leadership and now we want to do the same for others. We want to give back in a BIGGER WAY, for others.
So the choice is yours. You can be an okay Leader or you can leave a lasting legacy and be remembered as a GREAT Leader…a human being that made a wholehearted difference.
I would even take it a bit further and state that if you’re a parent, you are a parent for life. If you’re a Leader, you are a Leader for life. It’s OUR responsibility to lead by example, to show up and to be fully present, and to grow ourselves to be the best we can be. Period.
What can you do today to show up more authentically as a stronger Leader?