It is a privilege to serve. What a mighty privilege it is to be able to select one’s leader.
In the past, few people had a choice to choose their leaders. A military general commanded the troops, workers on an assembly line listened to the foreman, and the church commanded our religious and moral lives. Most people had no choice about their leaders 150 years ago.
Our modern age allows us more choice than ever in selecting our leader, or even enabling us to appoint ourselves as a source of command and inspiration. Who will you choose as your next leader? Are you going to be the voice of authority?
What must you consider in choosing a leader? Here are a few guidelines that might help you.
Look for hope. Choose to work with a leader who has a vision of progress, of an advantage or betterment. When you are with a leader, you will want to feel, “we can make this happen!” and “We are strong together!” Finding hope is such an important ingredient in our modern world. Hope draws people together and creates binds of allegiance.
Look for vitality. An effective leader will bring spirit and energy to an endeavor. Others will feel energized simply by working at the leader’s “speed.” When a leader is taking a team on a vital mission, people feel a sense of hustle. They understand that the work must be of high quality, and it must be rapid. The leader’s direction will intensify the effort toward achieving priority targets.
Look for new ideas. People may feel stimulated working around a genuine leader. Leaders have the power to expand the discussion, introduce new perspectives, and make new ideas become valuable. Do you feel intellectual stimulation from that person? Do you keep running through new ideas, trying them out for size, and asking yourself questions about the possibilities? A great leader can change the way we think.
What are some qualities to ignore when selecting a leader?
Differences in background. An effective leader may come from another continent, may practice another faith, and may look like a cartoon character. There may be warts and a squeaky voice. These factors are completely irrelevant if you have a leader who can get results done – the right results.
Differences in talent and skill. It doesn’t matter if the leader has a limited education or last went to school 40 years ago. Look instead to what this person offers to his or her character. Consider the real contributions that are necessary to this project. Add experts to any team; leadership skill is itself a unique contribution to any human activity.
Public relations spin. I’ve never known a great leader who needed to work on a “brand” to show people what was important. There are plenty of spin doctors in the world, people whose work shapes our opinions. Listen to your heart. A real leader may have a branded message, but you will see the authenticity and value without the presentation. Select a leader who was solid gold before his or her website went up.
If you are fortunate to choose your leader, and if you had searched your heart before you made a choice, be in the game. Be of service to a great leader, and you may discover that the leader is of service to you. The remarkable thing about a transformational relationship is that the experience changes both parties, both will be stronger.
I bring a smile with me to work today, and I notice that another manager smiling too. Is it real? Or is there a fierce antagonism hiding on a strained smiley face? I want to begin with pleasantry and positivity, and I also want others to be authentic.
I want to shine with a real happiness, to cultivate my positivity. Most of us can see through phoniness! I would rather show ambivalence with the hope of good things present, and to make this a real picture of me. I want people to trust what they see; I want to be trusted for bringing a real face to my world.
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Facing career upheaval? Read Leaders in Transition, available on Amazon and Kindle.