Leaders Wanted…Anyone, Anyone?

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We need leadership, and we need it now.

-Byron Dorgan-

Did you see that quote on Linkedin?  It goes something like this, “you are not a leader until you have produced another leader who can produce another leader.”

Hmmm…I’m not so sure I buy that one.  If you read that and you walked away feeling like less than a leader, despite knowing that you have really worked at learning to be a good leader, don’t despair and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve been working with people for over 40 years, and I can count on one hand the number of individuals who have expressed a desire to be a leader.  From those, we can eliminate about 60% who decided that they’d rather be a boss because it’s easier than being a leader.

From the remaining 40%, there’s only one I can remember that was willing to do what it took to be a leader over the long haul.  My point here is that you can spend a whole career looking for people who really want to be a leader, and maybe in that same timeframe you may never find one.

People want the pay, the prestige, the corner office but they aren’t willing to invest the emotional labor and study that it takes to be a leader.  You can be an excellent leader that leads your teams to great success and accolades but feeling like you’ve failed just because you’ve never birthed two leaders doesn’t ring true to me.

Think of it this way, if you birth 2 leaders, who birth 2 leaders, who birth 2 leaders, who birth 2 leaders, and if I did my math correctly, we’d have 32 leaders.  That’s compounding at its best and at that rate, we wouldn’t have a shortage of leaders, would we?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea, but don’t feel like you’re an incomplete leader just because you haven’t had any baby leaders.  There are other ways to measure your success as a leader, like what’s your team’s moral look like?  Are you doing the extraordinary within the confines of your business or industry?  Do the people on your team respect one another and put in more effort than even you expect?

I get the idea, if you’re a good leader, then you’ll inspire people to want to be good leaders too.  Sounds good in theory but in practice, there are a whole bunch of factors that are out of your control.  Those factors reside within the person whom you’ve inspired.  Once they have a good look at what leadership is all about they may decide it’s not for them and that is not something you’re going to change.

But on the other hand, if they do have what it takes, if they are willing to do the work, if they’re ready to pay the emotional cost, then do all that you can to birth a leader who should he/she find a willing candidate, birth another leader.

Tino Hernandez

 

 



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