I recently attended a Rypple webinar led by John Baldoni. In it he said, “Leadership is a choice.” It’s a seemingly obvious conclusion. However, there are layers of meaning to John’s statement that proved to me to be quite compelling.
Too often we work with leaders who never made the choice. They merely act a part but forget to choose the work of leadership. For if they had chosen, they’d realize that leadership isn’t about:
- needing to be first, or placing themselves at the center of the team;
- needing to be right to look good or appear in control;
- needing to be seen; or
- being overlooked for their hard work.
To choose leadership is to accept the hard work and responsibility of helping others achieve great things while supporting them, guiding them, coaching them to be great.
Choosing leadership is a self-less act predicated on the belief that:
- people do want to do good work;
- people want to contribute their talents;
- people can be trusted to do the right things;
- people want to believe in a purpose at work bigger than themselves,and
- people want to have a meaningful life.
Leaders can help make all the above happen only when they chose to lead for others and not for their self-advancing needs.
The irony in all this is that leaders who truly make the choice grow and learn as much as those who are led.