Everyone’s path to leadership is different.
My leadership journey started in the military. I entered “management” at just 23 years old when I became the officer in charge of the Reactor Controls division on a nuclear submarine near the end of the Cold War.
I had trained for years for it.
I was ready for it.
I loved it.
I had a passion for the military, the Navy, and the mission of the submarine force. I wanted to lead sailors well and I felt a calling to serve.
Not surprisingly, I was surrounded by other leaders who felt the same way I did.
When I entered Corporate America, however, I found people who went into leadership for vastly different reasons. There were some good leaders, but…there were a lot of people who took management roles simply because of the perks.
They became managers to get recognition, more money, a fancy title, a better office, a bigger bonus check, or to further advance their careers.
They wanted the leadership job for personal gain.
And that’s a problem.
It’s one of the reasons why good leaders are hard to find in Corporate America and why employee engagement is so low.
Too many managers are just in it for themselves.
I like this quote from Lisa Haisha, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader… they set out to make a difference.”“Great leaders don't set out to be a leader... they set out to make a difference.” Lisa Haisha Click To Tweet
In Corporate America today, finding leaders like this is rare.
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking addresses this issue in an article she wrote in 2017 for the NY Times.
She points out what’s wrong with leadership in Corporate America today.
She explains we have “glorified” leadership so much so that people are taking on leadership roles for the wrong reasons. Today, leadership, “attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve.”
She hits the nail on the head!
There is a shortage of good leaders because many people are choosing to lead for the wrong reasons.There is a shortage of good leaders because many people are choosing to lead for the wrong reasons. Click To Tweet
If you want to be a good leader, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. Do you have a passion for leadership?
Just like selecting any career, ask yourself if you have the passion to lead. To be a leader means you have the full responsibility of an organization and all the people associated with it. It means you will be accountable for everything that happens on your watch. It is a difficult and sometimes lonely job that demands a 24/7 commitment.
2. Do you care deeply about the idea or organization?
As the leader, all eyes will be on you. Your attitude toward the mission will reverberate throughout the organization. As a conductor, your team will be taking cues from you. If you care deeply about the organization’s mission, they will as well.
3. Do you love people?
Leadership is a people business. Your entire job is to motivate people towards accomplishing a goal. People are messy. They have issues, problems, emotions, relationships, and baggage. But your job is to see past the flaws, love your people, and motivate them to do great things.
News flash! You can’t be a great leader if you don’t love people.You can’t be a great leader if you don’t love people. Click To Tweet
If you choose to lead, do it for the right reasons. And be a great leader.
Honestly, we need better, not more, leaders.
By the way, If you want to get more out of your daily commute, listen to my podcast, Deep Leadership. It’s available on all podcast apps.
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