Unlikely Leadership

Everybody wants to be a leader, but very few people are leaders. Leaders by definition have followers but having followers does not mean you are a leader. There are leaders because of their position and there are leaders because they lead. Leadership is not something that is taught but is a natural gift. Leaders can be taught to be better leaders but someone who is not a leader cannot be made to be a leader.

I grew up a shy kid who was scared to call his friends. I was terrified that the person may not want to talk to me and it paralyzed me. I was not exactly leadership material, but as time progressed I came to the realization that I was leader, whether I liked it or not. I don't like being treated like a follower and I don't like it when other people are treated like followers. People calling themselves mentors make me cringe even though people would call me a mentor. If I am in a big group of people, I am more likely to be silent and go off on my own. I don't enjoy being part of big groups. I don't talk very loud, and I don't seek out attention (most of the time). I am an unlikely leader.

Most "leaders" today are not really leaders, they are popular and think they are leaders. A leader should be defined as someone who empowers others to find their own way toward the goal. Each and every person is unique and has something to contribute to making it toward the goal. Many "leaders"want to control the outcome and make the followers do what they want, but that is not good for anyone. If a leader has done his or her job properly they will be out of a job. Parents should not raise their children in such a way that their children are forever dependent on them. Children should be raised so that they can be independent of their parents. This goes for being a leader too. Leaders often think they are more important than their followers but it is really the followers that they are serving.

Too many leaders are only concerned with their own leadership instead of people around them. One day someone told me that they really enjoyed when a certain person, let's call him Bob, talked in a public setting. I happened to find that Bob had a tendency to ramble which made me not enjoy their speaking. For the longest time I had hesitated to ask Bob to speak in public settings, until I finally realized that it wasn't about me. This person had a way of connecting to people even if it did not connect with me. It was on this day that the fog lifted, and I could finally see it was more important for me to encourage the gifts in other people then to focus on my own. In the end this made me more of a leader.

Walking in front of people to get to the destination first is not leadership. Leadership is not about leading people to where they want to go, it is about leading them to where they should go. It is lonely being a leader because often you are by yourself showing the way but nobody is paying attention. A leader who just does what the people want is simply a puppet.

Being a leader is being about the followers. Looking for their gifts and empowering them to find the goal on their own. It is about seeing what they are good at not what you are good at. Leaders don't walk in front they stand in front, waiting for the others to join them so that they can move on together.


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