‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”’ − Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
What exactly is leadership? Many papers have been written about this over the years. Most are uninteresting, very few are insightful.
Descriptions include the terms ‘leading other subordinates’ and ‘achieving the goals set by the company’. These terms are so polarising. They limit our thinking about leading into a paradigm associated with only the corporate ladder and the incorporeal company setting of our goals.
Even the term ‘subordinates’ should not exist. No one is beneath you. Are they in a different position? Yes. But you cannot lead if you think of those in the team as ‘sub’ anything. The most outstanding leaders foster equality; the most excellent leader accepts differences in shoes lived in.
Leadership is not a title or a position, it is a movement. Leading is a trajectory in your life. It is all of our destinies in some small way, shape or form. And this is in different forms. Some of us may lead a team; some may mentor and guide someone close to them. There are exceptional leaders born to educate and develop people into a form better than when they met. Influence is also a form of leadership − by living lives worthy of replication these individuals lead and develop by merely being.
Leadership is shifting your focus away from your own growth. It can be simply described as the amplification of the abilities of multiple different people into a similar area to maximise a shared goal.
It helps those you have the privilege to lead to understand their makeup, positive and negative triggers and how to maximise them. It uses clear messaging to create psychological safety to remove the self-built internal barriers of the people you lead.
No examples of leadership talk about your ego, your power. None speak about your rewards. They talk to other people. But you cannot focus on other people until you have concentrated on yourself and have built a cadence of continuing questioning of yourself and your biases.