Monday, September 3, 2012

Leggo Your Ego

Leadership is not about you.  I know, I know.  Once you’ve climbed that ladder to the top and people are constantly bending over to kiss your ass, it’s easy to think that it is.

However, I promise you, it’s not.

I guess that’s why I don’t pay much attention to leaders who like to talk a lot, especially politicians.  To be honest, it’s not just politicians I tend to ignore.  I become deaf with most religious leaders and higher management types, as well.  Anyone who loves the prestige and the power more than the people are not leaders; they are dangerous dictators.  Whether it’s the president of a country or a father of a small household, the leader that stands out is the one not trying to.  Leadership does not require a lot of fanfare, but a heart for those under him and a passion for where he is taking them.

A true leader does not do it for personal gain.  Leading isn’t about adding to your resume or financial portfolio.  It’s about people and having a common objective that everyone is working towards.  A good leader always attaches value to people around him.  He helps them feel good about themselves and to accomplish the goals they have set.  People who have a purpose and feel that they are accomplishing that purpose have an excited energy to them.  They are ready to strive for bigger and better things.

Furthermore, a leader doesn’t worry about others outshining him.  If they are constantly worried about someone doing better than them or being better liked, then they don’t have the security to be an effective leader.  For twenty plus years I helped grow small groups.  Overtime people under me grew and were called upon to lead their own group, sometimes taking others under me with them.  This is not a negative, but an exciting positive as now there were two groups heading in the same direction, each growing and accomplishing great things.  The philosophy is the same in family life.  We want our children to grow up and start families - small groups - of their own.  When the people under you succeed, it’s because you succeeded as a leader.  Their progress is not a threat, but a reward. 

A leader can be charismatic as well as compassionate, firm as well as friendly, and strong as well as sincere.  People will gladly follow someone they believe cares about them, who has the best interests of those under them at heart as well as their own.  They want someone who is genuine.  None of these traits make a leader weak, but rather strong, because ultimately a leader is not to be served, but to serve.  Anyone who goes into leadership thinking otherwise has entered it for the wrong reasons.  They will be disappointed and the people under them will be frustrated.

Egos can get in the way of success.  People don’t like following a prima donna who feels they are entitled to extras.  That mindset only leads to animosity.  Eventually a leader realizes he’s merely taking a walk, because no one is following.  No one likes him but himself.

A leader that is in it because of others will find no shortage of followers willing to help them accomplish the common goal.  Pompous men who demand out of a sense of privilege soon find they are no longer leading, but standing still.
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                       Chicken Is My Life

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  1. Great post Robbie. A leader that puts the welfare of the people at the forefront of their minds is the sort of leader anyone would want to follow. Amazing just how important one's ego is when it comes to leadership.

    1. And how destructive it can be, as well. Thanks, David. Glad you enjoyed it.