I love leadership. It’s a noun, verb, adjective, adverb all in one. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a passion, it’s important and it’s something that isn’t taught nearly enough these days.
Oh sure, there are thousands of leadership experts out there on the web, writing books, doing podcasts, selling courses. And that’s great. I personally know a lot of them, have been on a lot of podcasts talking about leadership and am a voracious reader of leadership books.
But at some point there comes the time to do and not just learn. Practicing the art of leadership takes commitment, time, effort and skill. And a tolerance for personal frustration and failure (yep, I said the F word) and a demands a resilience to bounce back up and keep leading.
Show me a leader that says they’ve learned all they can about leadership and I’ll show you a liar.
And that’s what I think I love the most about leadership and being a student of it as well as a practitioner. It demands that I be a lifelong student, a perpetual learner. It demands retrospective and growth.
Here’s a personal example from just yesterday fro me. I realized that I had dropped the ball on submitting an awards package for one of my teams. Flat missed the deadline. Why? Well, one part is my continuing frustration with my lack of organizational skills to a level I’m happy with and the other part was I had spent most of my time lately ‘down in the weeds’ helping to solve a technical problem that another one of my teams was having.
What’s wrong with that? As a leader, my ‘job’ isn’t to be in the weeds doing the work, it’s to be taking care of the teams, offering support and resources so that they can be in the weeds doing the work. As a leader, our people MUST be our first priority. I had let that slip.
I beat myself up pretty hard over the missed award package submission but I regrouped, took accountability for my mistake, asked for a deadline extension and got the help I needed from my support circle to get it done.
Then, as a good leader should, I did a ‘hot wash’ or ‘after action breakdown’ on what I did wrong, what I could do better and how to improve and pass this lesson along. (thus this email!)
People aren’t born leaders, they are made. What kind of leader do you want to make yourself?
Lead from the front.