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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Being a Leader – Right or Privilege?

RADIO STATIONS play good music and we listen to them. If they play it consistently enough, we trust them sufficiently to listen in loyally, resisting urges to channel-swap. Trust works everywhere in our transactional world—this extends to “leadership.”

Definition of “leader”: anyone in a position of even the remotest power, influence or authority. [Yes, this includes parents, teachers, volunteer sport coaches etc and anyone in a supervisory position, even pseudo-positions.]

If you’re an adult, you’re probably a leader in at least one, if not many, senses.

As a leader, whether we’re in the home, at work, or anywhere in society for that matter, the radio station principle holds for us. If we play ‘the music of choice’ in our leading, those we lead will trust us sufficiently to give us further opportunities at leadership. It’s therefore a privilege and not a right to lead. Many so-called “leaders” do not get this. They might have the position but not the influence.

The leader has permission to lead, and this is only ever issued temporarily—we’re only as good as our last performance. Permission to lead is having their respect. They want to be led by us.

As a parent, we don’t have to be popular but we do need to be considerate and entirely respectful, especially parenting teens. Parents know how much wisdom is involved in effective parenting—perhaps it’s the hardest ‘leader gig’ there is! At work—even more so in this Gen-Y loaded age—we’re leading softly if we’re leading at all. Rather than force the pace, we must adapt to using our skills, information and connections to serve the people who serve us. What’s in it for them? This has to be our underpinning mindset.

The leader depends most of all on their humility, charisma and good humour. This is not “cool” charisma. It’s a balls-to-the-wall, guts-in-the-mud authentic charisma that invites trust—because quite frankly—it’s the meekest, most non-threatening energy known to the environment it plays in. Its quiet confidence and generosity is beautifully but boldly serene. Yes, an honest, humble, “real” person without any hint of a hidden agenda; that’s our leader. They match the playground mood with a complementary humour befitting situations met and the people they serve.

The leader is simply an extension of the person. They are who they are. This is why the best leaders (parents, supervisors, volunteers) are just simply the best, most assuredly comfortable people.

Want to have more impact? Let go!

Ask for permission without using words.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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