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Thursday, July 12, 2012

What it means to lead...

As I sit at a table with my mother, she is showing me how to paint. I am not doing so well, and keep muddling the colors together. She gently starts guiding me. Giving me tips on how to use color. How this and that need to be done. I start making another mistake, and she gently gives me more guidance. You can tell she wants me to get this.

She has been painting for a long time, entering her art in art shows. Helping other people to develop a love for watercolors. So, I finally agreed to paint with her. She had asked me many times, and tried to encourage me to paint. I thought I couldn't paint, until now. And I realized something else, too. That my mother is a leader. For years, I misunderstood her gentle nature. But I realized she wanted me to learn when I was ready...

A real leader does not bully

Anyone can spout off orders. Can threaten to take people's jobs away if they don't perform up to 'their' standard. Anyone can get angry and shout at people. To instill fear in others is not leadership. Intimidating people into behaving a certain way is not leadership. It's just bullying.

Anyone can be a bully. Bullies use brute strength instead of strategy. They use fear tactics that lower morale, instead of speaking to people respectfully. In ways that motivate them, and encourage them to perform at their best. Bullies don't know how to do that. Leaders do.

Show me someone with great leadership abilities, and I guarantee you they trust their employees. They give them the tools to do their jobs, but trust that they will do them right. In their own way. The way that works for them. They don't micro-manage, and they don't hover.

Real leaders have courage

A true leader inspires others to love, because they love themselves. They encourage and inspire. Inspiring others means you are inspiring. In the choices that you make. The words you use. The way you think. It means you put yourself on the front line, ready to fight with your men...to win (or lose) the battle side by side.

They don't just accept the way things are

Just because something is 'standard protocol' does not mean it is the only way. True leaders know this. Not everyone does things the same way. They come up with new ways to improve what is being done. To change what is not working. They are instruments of positive change.

They know how to delegate

Let's face it. There is a lot on our plates. Why add more, when it's not necessary? True leaders know how to assign tasks. They also know their own personal limitations.

They keep a clear head

If you act confused, and show a lack of confidence, it affects the people you are leading. Prepare yourself for a tough job ahead. Know that it will be difficult, and be willing to face it with strength. Be prepared with a set of answers to possible questions. Know how to explain what you want your team to accomplish, and by what time.

They teach

They understand there's a deeper sense of purpose to what they're doing. That their expertise is also a responsibility to help others. That they've been given gifts to share, not just hold to themselves. Or to waste. And they share those gifts unselfishly...

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Image courtesy of www.calivas.com

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