Every four years, as we enter into our presidential election cycle, we are deluged with daily details about various candidates for a variety of offices. Our minds may turn to the idea of leadership, or the lack of leadership, as the case may be.
The reality of leadership is that it begins within the individual, and that means you. And me.
Yes, you—the person in the mirror. That’s where the buck truly stops, and leadership truly begins. This could be a discomforting thought, or it could be a first step towards personal freedom and more.
Leadership lies not in the heart of any particular organization or political persuasion, but instead emerges from the core of each individual. Leadership corresponds to personal passion and empowering others to find their own purpose.
Thankfully, leadership is not dependent on a body of elected officials or other organizations.
Leadership resides in the individual choosing and endeavoring to follow a path that aligns principles, values, and the needs of others.
Leadership is not a contained global vision. Leaders use their individuality and imaginations to envision a common goal and find a path for others to follow.
Leadership cannot be found in a pep rally. It emerges not from frenzied hurrahs but from an individual conscience desiring to model a life well-lived with self-respect and respect for others.
There are many definitions of leadership.
Stephen Covey says, “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.”
Peter Drucker said, “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”
John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less.”
It all begins by leading yourself, seeing your own worth and potential, following your own directives, and influencing your behavior.
Too often the terms leadership and management are used interchangeably. Leadership is about doing the right things. Management is about doing things right. Leadership is about dealing with change. Management is about changing the deal. Leadership chooses where we are going. Management plans when and how we will arrive.
To be effective leaders we must know how to effectively lead and manage. Without leadership, we manage the wrong things. Without management we never move our vision ahead.
As parents and teachers—the leaders of our children—we must instill a vision into our families of each member’s worth and potential. As leaders we must be disciplined and willing to sacrifice for that vision. When times get tough we must take our passion, our discipline and our commitment to see our vision through.
Building family and community are the best tests of leadership.
If we fail our children through lack of leadership, even if we accomplish our goals in other parts of our life, we may find that those achievements never fulfill us in the joyful way that building family and community does.
Making small adjustments to our daily lives in terms of our vision, passion, discipline and conscience can have payback in ways that will appear amazing in a generation. Building family and community builds a better world.
Over the next few weeks these Kids Talk posts will focus on the mental, physical, emotional and social aspects of leadership.
For the sake of our children, I challenge you to become a leader.