Leadership is a privilege, but it is easy to let it go to your head and become toxic. You’ve seen those leaders who wield their position and power like a mighty sword, with the goal of being recognized, honored and praised for what THEY did. They look down on the people below them who actually did the thinking and the work to achieve that goal. Many times, there are no thank you’s and if there are, they are sickeningly insincere.
I bet you have also had leaders who are completely selfless. They work harder and longer than anyone on the team, they do things themselves rather than ask (or demand) that someone on the team do it. They clearly and wholeheartedly have the good of the team in mind with every decision. And when the goal is met, they take no credit but give credit to the team for the work well done.
In a recent talk at the Global Leadership Summit, Patrick Lencioni, bestselling author and founder/president of The Table Group, shared that a true leader should want to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. They do things not for them, but for the benefit of those they lead.
That really hit a chord with me, and made me think back over the leaders I’ve worked with over the years.
Not only have the leaders who acted in this manner excelled, but they inspired me to excel as well. I perform at a higher level when my leader lets me know that they are making decisions with my welfare and the team’s welfare in mind and not just looking at the bottom line.
A true leader influences and encourages her team, challenging them to use their full potential but knowing them well enough to know their capabilities and limits. They have worked with and observed their team closely enough to understand the strengths of each member and what it takes to pull the best performance out of each person.
The benefit of leading FOR your team is usually reciprocated by the bottom line. Happy team members work harder and more successfully so the results usually reflect that.
Why do you lead?