I saw this post a few days ago that asked the question, “Do You Really Want Your Child to be a Leader?” and posited that what most parents are thinking about when they answer, “Yes, of course!” is not really leadership at all. From the post:
The truth is that while leadership can often be a truly rewarding experience, it is often a lot of hard work. Leaders have responsibilities whether their team wins or loses. They are often ridiculed, criticized, and they work well beyond ‘their fair share’ with little to show for it. Leadership is not a popularity contest and it isn’t about being the star.
Think about that… Leadership isn’t about being the star. Most of us, immediately, would agree and say things like leading is about the team’s success, or creating positive change in the world, or mentoring, or serving, or a host of other things which are not self-focused. My challenge is, would you do those things if you NEVER got recognition for any of them? If your part was never known to ANYONE else? Would you do what needed to be done, lead for vision, change and success of the mission if you aren’t even recognized as a bit player on the stage? Most of us, regardless of our verbal or written positions on why we lead, have a bit of ego in there somewhere that likes, needs even, the positive recognition that comes with leading a successful team or effort. We’re only human, after all, right?
So, how do we prepare to lead when leading isn’t going to feed our egos?
Also from the post I mentioned above:
The ingredients we mix into a bowl determines the dish we prepare… What ingredients are going in your child, and will they make a leader? What books do they read? What games do they play? What do they listen to? What movies do they watch? Who do they admire? With whom do they spend their time?
The same is true for adults who seek to be the kind of leaders who do the job even when no one knows they’ve done so. What is in your life’s mixing bowl? What are you reading, thinking, learning, playing, watching or hearing? How are you feeding your soul instead of your ego so that you have the knowledge and desire to lead when leading is necessary, regardless of the personal reward or recognition? We are always moving toward a particular outcome in this life. Even when we think we’re standing still, the world does not, and it runs on past us, effectively moving us in the opposite direction. How do you choose your path consciously, evaluate regularly, and lead purposefully? How do you stay motivated?