Leadership encompasses four fundamental principles: vision, motivation, navigation, and organization. But what does that mean? Are you a leader? Are any of us leaders? Or…are we all leaders? Do we not all have visions for ourselves, for our own futures? Do we not navigate the path towards that vision, plan our daily, weekly, and monthly goals towards that vision? When an obstacle slams its ugly head into the middle of our path, do we not try to regroup and rethink our strategy to circumvent the hindrance? Thus are we leading ourselves and is known as Leader of Self in the Leadership Pipeline.
Admittedly, this is on a very small and personal scale. Throw in other people and leading quickly becomes more complicated and convoluted. However, even when managing others, we still need to set the example by leading ourselves. Those above tenets still apply–now, we just merely need to practice them on a larger scale while helping others practice them for themselves on behalf of the team. We still see a vision, but it involves others. We still understand we need to get there, but the destination now relies on the efforts of others. We still have an outline of how to get there, but it depends on others.
Albeit a little trickier, we can still organize and rally others in a way that inspires. As the learning hub Mindtools observes, “leadership means different things to different people.” While we may be leaders of ourselves, it’s important to note that there exists a difference between elegant leadership and meager management. We tend to think of leaders as exuding charisma, boasting of personalities that inspire, archetypes of acute wit, reliability, and courage. All of those traits are but grandiose adornments to the aforementioned tenets, but even so, the difference is stark when imagining the image of a leader standing opposite a manager.
Managers might be able to navigate and organize, but not all managers have visions or the ability to motivate. We do not often think of managers as bursting with the same aura of a leader. They do not inspire us. They do not convince us of their vision. In fact, while a leader is synonymous with someone rallying people towards an enlightened cause, a manager is merely looked at as someone maintaining the status quo. Anyone can manage. In truth, any of us can also be leaders. All of us can be either. The difference is the effort that’s put in and how it inspires others.
Take a moment to reflect on what inspires you about great leadership. What would you want to be known for? It’s not enough to simply see the vision–it takes effort to learn how to be that inspiration for others. Putting effort into reaching vision is what truly inspires others, not just having the vision itself. Today, seek to be the best version of your vision of the perfect leader. Then, tomorrow, take a look around to see who was inspired to be their best vision of a leader. You might just find someone willing to put in the time and effort with you to reach new visionary heights.
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
— Jesse Owens
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