26 Aug, 2018

Why does anyone want to be a leader?

In my experience people who want to step into a leadership role do it for one of two reasons.

The commander 

They are looking for recognition, affirmation and reward. They are seeking external proof that they are worthy and, for them, that means promotions, executive chairs and power. We describe it as ‘ego’ and, while this type of drive and determination can work in the short term, anything that gets done has to be done by forcing those around them to ‘do as they are told.’

People led like this are typically stressed, oppressed and wait for instructions rather than acting on their own initiative. The talented will only stay as long as it takes them to find somewhere better to work. A commander tends to create a collection of commanders around him – everyone out for what they can get. Organisational goals get lost in the crowds of ego-driven personal ambitions.

The lighthouse

The Lighthouse Leader

They want to help others become the very best that they can be in order to work together to help their business (or charity or community or family) achieve all of its goals and ambitions. They know that it isn’t about them – but about those around them. These are the Inspirators. Their role is to bring forth the next generation of leaders and they know that, to do this, they illuminate the way for everyone around them.

People led like this understand where the organisation is going, where they fit in that bigger picture and how they can play their part. And, as we covered in our last article these people are more engaged and more inclined to give their best.

In both cases Leadership is all about you – the difference is how you see your role in taking those you lead forwards.

So, use this coffee break to follow these four steps to becoming a more inspiring leader:

1. Watch these 2 short excerpts from Simon Cook and Lucy Mellins

2. Think of leaders who have inspired you and helped you be your best. What qualities did they have? How did they illuminate your path to where you are today? 

3. Think about your own qualities as a leader and a person. What makes you inspiring to others? What is it about you that can help others be their best? 

4. How can you be true to those qualities every day in your role as a leader? How can you be the lighthouse rather than the commander?

What makes you want to lead? And what have you seen in the leadership from others? Join the debate on leadership by adding your views below.

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