Next time you are in front of a mirror we have a couple requests.
Why? Because it's important. Not for us but for you.
When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see the the leader that you claimed to be during the interview process for your current job? Or that leader that you speak about on the ice, soccer pitch, baseball diamond, etc? Or that leader that you aspire to be at home amongst your family?
Or did you just say it because you thought it was the golden ticket to get you the job, or because you thought that every athlete was and is a leader, or because you thought it was the right thing to say when you became a parent?
Because if you haven't noticed, we are lacking the leaders that this world needs right now. Whether it be within the corporate world, in sports organizations, or within our families & communities, there is a big gap in leadership that was created during (& before) the baby boomer generation to the generations of today.
So then...who are great and effective leaders?
Effective leaders are visionaries who craft clear pictures of their teams' vision and then link them to the present activities people are leading. In this way, all actions have a purpose: to bring teams, families or organizations closer to the result imagined by their leaders. The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have never been.
In todays world, too many leaders become creatures of habit. They do the same things the same way with the same people every day. They rarely have new thoughts, generate fresh ideas or take calculated risks. Instead they confine their leadership to a secure area of comfort and refuse to leave it. Such leaders eventually suffer from their own blindness. By spending days doing the same old things its like they have placed patches over their good eyes. They become unable to see the tremendous opportunities presenmted by these rapidly changing times and eventually, not using their natural vision, they lose it and grow blind. The best way to succeed in the future is to create it.
Leadership is about focussed action in the direction of a worthy purpose. Leadership is about realizing the impossible is generaly untried. Many people think the leader is generally the man or woman with the CEO title or president. Or the dad or the mom in the family. Or the best player on the sports team. When actually, leadership is not about the position, its about the ACTION. To lead is to inspire, energize and influence. Leadership is not about managing things but about developing and empowering people. Leadership is about helping people (whether it be your co-workers, teammates, or children) liberate to the fullest of their talents while they pursue a vision you have helped them understand is a worthy and meaningful one.
The best leaders recognize that leadership is a craft not a gift. They constantly work to refine their art and one of the things they work on is the ability to be present based but future focussed. Great leaders have masterd the twin skills of managing the present while at the same time, inventing the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to be a leader - be one. Do whatever it takes and make this world a much better place. Be one that challenges the status quo every day in the office. Be the teammate that shows up first to practice, takes every play serious, and leaves last. And be the parent that teaches & empowers their children to strive for greatness, appreciate life, and respect those around them. Leadership isn't about being 'the man' or 'the woman' or leading 'marco solo'. It's about making others be better than you.
Time to pay it forward and be the difference you said you wanted to be. So that the next time you look at the mirror, you ensure the reflection resembles...