Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Monday afternoon, a conversation with an industry peer led to a poignant comment relating to the challenges of being a great leader during these times (in the context of corralling great follower-ship). Monday evening we received the above picture from respected colleague Adam King with a suggestion this may be a suitable topic for the IF blog. Tuesday morning we received the same picture from IF owner Yoshia Burton with the subject line FB post material? Recognizing this was the third touch point in 24hrs we suggested Yoshia write about it on the IF blog . His reply segues perfectly into today’s post: I am not a big fan about posting about great leadership... don't feel I have enough expertise or credibility yet as a leader to talk how to be great at it. We’re going to come back to this statement in a second, but before we do: 

What this picture mean to you? Does it resonate at any level? If so think about why & hold that thought.

The 1st reason this picture resonates with myself is because it speaks to people’s desire to see/hear/feel their leadership leading vs. leadership being advocated & dictated. This desire seems to be more pervasive as our organizational EQ drives our moral compasses. To me, the word leader has become another over utilized buzz word (kind of like epic) eg: “I’m a leader!” If you have to label yourself a leader, you’re probably the furthest thing from it. Most great leaders are too busy leading others to be promoting themselves. In fact, authentic leadership focuses on seeding, planting & cultivating follower-ship to be as good as & better than thyself. Meaning, a great leader is someone who’s entered into an opportunity at x level and nurtured it (with & through those affecting it) to leave it in better standing than they found it at y or z level.

Quick business, community, regional, provincial, national, global audit : based on above - do we have great leaders?

The 2nd reason it resonates with myself is because of the myriad of experiences I’ve had over time (bad & good) relating to this leadership picture.

  • the kid who is the cancer & the cure in the locker rooms 
  • the friend who's present during good times & bad times over the course of a relationship   
  • the employee who leaves the organization in worse & better shape than they entered it.
  • the manager who puts themselves & their people first in recognizing achievement
  • the owner who’s about their ego & their values when it comes to running the business
  • the expert who’s providing implied & experienced based advice when selling their knowledge
  • the parent who advocates & exemplifies healthy habits in the home 
In every example above the highlighted person represents the leader at the front of the group while the other depicts the boss (who thinks they are the leader) sitting in the chair.

Quick self audit: based on above have you been & are you being a great leader?

No really. When you thought about the question what does this picture mean to you, did you think about your leadership IQ or did you immediately relate the picture to someone else's affect on you? Chances are, if you thought about your leadership IQ and how you could improve - 1st, you’re probably on the path to becoming a better leader. Just like Yoshia replying with an honest reply, he recognizes the need master great follower-ship followed by seeding, planting & cultivating potential leaders in order to credibly develop into a great leader.... in order to credibly comment as a great leader. 

Bottom line - we need more great leadership and that starts in house.

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