About a week ago, I offered my perspective on the differences between Leadership and Management. You can read this post here. I don´t often write about leadership, but I have been thinking about how I would articulate leadership.
When we say someone is a great leader, we often are saying he or she is a great leader, manager, and coach. When I peel away the management and coaching elements, I see what is pure leadership.
Leadership is just one thing.
Leadership is like the horseradish in the sauce I make for raw oysters.
It´s like the wasabi in my sushi.
It´s the lime leaves in my Panang curry.
It´s the Bombay in my martini.
It´s something special that makes a big difference. So what´s the one thing?
When we demonstrate leadership, we exude a proactive thrust. It´s about taking the initiative to makes things better.
The one thing is proactivity.
That´s not precisely it. There´s also a tinge of charisma (even introverted charisma) to the proactivity of great leadership.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma.
That´s still not quite right. Great leadership feels compelling – we are moved in some away.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling.
It´s getting there, but something is still missing. When we lead we are serving others. There´s an altruistic and service oriented purpose behind leadership.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling and is at the service of others.
This is starting to feel right but there´s a bit more in there. A demonstration of leadership is also an acknowledgment of ownership and accountability. When we are leaders, we are owners of outcomes.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling, is at the service of others, and that demonstrates ownership of results.
Real close now, but still missing something. Leadership answers just the right call. When we lead, we understand what´s needed and what will make the greatest difference.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling, is at the service of others, demonstrates ownership of results, and is targeted to provide the greatest benefit.
I think that´s it, but there is just one more thing missing. Those who follow us willingly determine when we are demonstrating leadership. Our best efforts will be in vain if we have not established trusting and positive relationships. We can be leaders when we have earned people´s trust.
So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling, is at the service of others, demonstrates ownership of results, targeted to provide the greatest benefit, and that is delivered by someone we trust.
This really is just one thing. Like a nine-layer dip – it´s complex, but just one flavor. Like a fine wine, there´s a lot going on, but one overwhelming impression.
Leadership is the special energy we put to our work that makes a powerful difference. Leadership can be applied to every aspect of work. Many people who fail to demonstrate leadership don´t have their hearts in it. Leadership requires much more than being smart and in charge.
Anyone can lead if they do just this one thing.