It’s misleading to think of leadership as the role you play in an organization.
If you look up the word “lead” in the dictionary, you’ll find a verb, not a noun. The noun refers to a metal used in paint years ago that caused a stir in the paint industry. Perhaps discovering that “lead” is a verb is a discovery of the same magnitude for you.
It’s not enough to have a position. A leadership role doesn’t guarantee you’ll lead. Action does. Not just any action, but the kind that moves you somewhere. Action is only associated with verbs in grammar. The same goes for leadership.
It’s important to have vision as a leader. This means you need a vision. That vision will be the compass that directs you to that place where results are achieved and dreams become reality. This kind of leadership requires big picture thinking.
Big Picture Thinking may sound grand and lofty. Let’s bring the concept down to earth. We all do a form of this the first time we travel somewhere new. Suppose you’re going on vacation to Myrtle Beach and you’ve never been there before. There are several things to do to make it a successful trip.
First, you have to find the right roads that will take you there. As you look at a map, you may see there are several ways you could choose. Which is the best? If you encounter a detour, which roads will get you back on track?
That is planning and problem solving in action.
There’s more planning to do. You have to stay somewhere in Myrtle Beach. Then there are meals to eat and attractions to visit. If you want to make the most of your time there, you’ll have to do some research and make some choices.
Leadership is like that.
If you’ve embraced the fact that leading is an action and that planning and decision making is a crucial part of it, you’re on the path to being a great leader.
But wait, there’s one more thing.
When you go on vacation with your family, you’ll have to consider their interests if you want them to have fun. Don’t go to a museum when they’d rather play in the surf.
Be firm on principle (the why) but flexible on method (the how).
If you want to lead well, choose a great destination.