If you ask 100 different people what leadership is, you could get over 200 different answers, because the concept of leadership is forever changing.
However, I believe there is a lost art to leadership that many of us seek and only a few of us find.
So, what is leadership? What is this lost art that so many of us seek?
Early in my career, I was given a leadership role to lead a staff of qualified professionals. This was very exciting, because I got a new office, a new title and a big raise. Then it happened. There was conflict on the team, and, as the leader, I did not know what to do.
It was then that I realized that with the new office, new title and big raise, there came new big responsibilities. As the leader, this team was my responsibility. I needed to take action and lead. But how?
I pulled my team together and shared how each one of them had key strengths that made the team better together than any one of us alone. I coached each team member and helped them find common ground. It was uncomfortable at times, but worth it. My team grew stronger, together.
I learned the hard way that it was not about me being the leader – it was about the ships that I led. It was about the ship called “my team”. There is a lost art to leadership, my friends, and it’s all about the SHIPs we lead.
Leadership shows up when the leaders are able to motivate their ships to action, whatever that ship may be. The ship of life, the ship of family, the ship of business, the ship of staff and others. Leadership is both simple and very complex. It’s about how the leader navigates the ship. The leader’s SHIP.
I propose that leadership is much more than actions. It’s more than making decisions or setting a vision. It’s even bigger than the leaders themselves.
I believe that the lost art of leadership is about: Serving with Heart and Influencing with Purpose.
SERVING is the S in the leader’s ship. It’s “what” leaders do every day. We serve others with a focus on discovering and achieving what is best for them. The leader is the servant. Jim Rohn says:
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
HEART is the H in the leader’s ship. It’s the “how” leaders genuinely care for those they lead. I have come to believe that people really don’t care how much we know until they know how much we truly care. When we have a sincere heart that desires what is best for those we are leading, then we begin to know how to lead.
INFLUENCING is the I in the leader’s ship. It is “who” the leader is. It is the essence of leadership. John Maxwell says that, “Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.”
We become great leaders when we are influencing our ship. Whatever ship one directs, leadership is totally about influencing. Period!
PURPOSE is the P in the leader’s ship. It is “why” we lead. Leaders lead because we have a purpose we want to accomplish. We have a ship that can help us fulfill our purposes. Knowing your why is what gives your leadership purpose. People will jump on your ship when they know and believe in your why, your purpose for existing.
It is my sincere hope that you will join me in bringing back the lost art of leadership: Serving with Heart and Influence with Purpose!