Back in the day, the paradigm for leadership went something like this:
We now know, or should know that leaders come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, religions and creeds. The one thing I never saw included in the paradigm of leadership was “silent.”
What I mean is do leaders really have to relate to us without really knowing who we are? Oh, we are great at dispensing our own infinite wisdom. We are intent on finding out who they are and supporting their efforts. You can produce results operating that way, but the satisfaction in doing so will be missing for them and us. Does this relationship give us what we need to meet the roadblocks that will surely show up along the way?
We ask them to be to be excellent. We ask them to be more than they think they can be. Doesn’t it make sense that leaders need to really know who is doing the asking? What they really need to know is that we love them and that we are human. We are not the “great I am,” but rather we are just like they are. Our concerns, our failures and successes.
They need to know we have failed, yet we have learned from the failure and persisted. We get the job done regardless of the circumstances. They need to know we will not give up on them, ever. They need to see and feel our commitment to them.
They need to know what our principles are and that we are always practicing them. We are being what we are asking them to be. Leading the charge without knowing where you are headed may seem heroic to you but it doesn’t work.
One thing that doesn’t work is seeking their admiration for who you are and what you do. This is a very slippery slope. The moment we fail to live up to the image we have created, i.e., the all-seeing, all-knowing, wizard of Id, admiration goes out the window. Maybe this little quote will illuminate a bit–
“You can’t out think, out run or out smart being human.”