Leadership isn’t just about keeping everyone on the team or at work doing what they are supposed to be doing so things get done. That’s being a good supervisor or manager. Leadership aims for a much loftier goal. Too often we call people excellent leaders when they are really only excellent at supervising people.
A true leader guides people to become all they are and evolve into something even more than that. Leadership is not about maintaining the status quo even if the status quo produces good results. It’s about leading people to a level of performance beyond anything they have achieved in the past. When that is done, a leader then inspires their people to go even further.
Leadership is about the never ending quest for better. There is no stopping point. No final touchdown that wins the game. Because this game has no final clock, no final result, no end.
Each of us is a bundle of untapped potential. No matter how successful we have been or what we have achieved, we still contain more unrealized potential than real world results. When we assemble a group of people together for a common purpose, that group creates an even greater bundle of potential.
If we simply supervise the group so they effectively use their existing abilities and knowledge together, we may achieve results but will fall far short of what could have been. We also fall short of helping each person to continue to grow and evolve.
Our goal in life is to leave as little unrealized potential as possible when we pass on. But we can’t do that alone. We need others to help us along our journey. They are called leaders. A true leader understands this calling and won’t let their people down by expecting less of them then they can be.
For organizations, this makes all the difference in the world. It’s the difference between a sales team meeting their quarterly revenue target versus exceeding it by 25%. It’s the difference between a manufacturing plant achieving a 99.2% defect free rate versus producing zero defects.
It’s the difference between customer service satisfying 98% of customers versus satisfying 99.9% of customers. It’s the difference between companies whose growth rate holds its own against competitors versus increasing its growth rate enough to increase its market share by 15%. It’s the difference between firms that turn over 25% of their employees annually versus those that turn over less than 5%.
Exceptional performance by a business, school, church, charity, sports team or any other organization starts when each person performs at an exceptional level every day. And that will only happen when those organizations or teams are led by true leaders who never stop raising the bar on their people’s performance expectations.