If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams
For many leaders, leadership can appear to be a burden. They feel as if the weight of the world has been put on their shoulders with managing teams, driving business results and planning for growth. I've frequently heard leaders at leadership retreats claim that if their employees:
- Only did what they were asked to;
- Took ownership and responsibility they wouldn't have to micro-manage;
- Brought them solutions and not just complaints;
- Showed loyalty to the organization instead of wasting time on personal issues;
- And displayed gratitude for having a job in today's marketplace, they would be able to improve their leadership style.
While these might be valid realities being experienced, I oftentimes like to throw a curveball when I respond that the situation is a mirror for one's own leadership approach. As a leader, when you're encountering behaviors, attitudes and actions that are counter to what you believe should be occurring, you have to always first step back and realize that your team is following your behavior and guidance. You model the way for them. If you're ready to commit to creating change, the first step then is to:
- Ask yourself: "Do I actually enjoy being a leader?" You might surprise yourself if you get very honest. If you don't, then you need to look at your options to either exit or find a different type of role. If you do, the next step is:
- Make a list of all the reasons you like being a leader and write out what brings you the most joy in this role. Be as detailed as possible. Recall all the moments where you were over the top excited about being a leader. Outline the experiences of gratitude you have for your team. The final step is:
- Look with in and ask yourself: "How can I take responsibility to create changes and shifts?" Create a short-term and long-term action plan that allows for you to integrate more experiences like you've listed in step 2. You want to shift your focus over to the positive and joyful moments you encounter. This isn't putting on rose-colored glasses and ignoring the challenges. Instead, it's about being able to quickly turn around challenges and believe that your team is giving its best in any given moment. You're taking full responsibility for the end results.
Being a leader and impacting peoples' lives can be such a great reward if we only choose to view it that way. The organization's bottomline and continued sustainability are truly contingent upon how you lead. So, make it your leadership mission to firstly experience joy in your role and then to focus on delivering this joy to your team. And in closing, I wanted to share some Mr. Rogers' wisdom with you to remind you of your wonderful responsibility as a leader:
"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
To read more leadership insights by Marion Chamberlain, visit her blog here.