“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams
How would you define leadership?
Leadership is all about influence. But to build influence as a leader, you have to serve others. If you think leadership is you being in charge, you may want to think again.
You probably have heard many talks on “servant leadership” if you have read or listen to different topics pertaining to leadership. I believe in servant leadership, but I also believe that if you are a good leader you will be a servant.
The best leaders are those leaders that aren’t afraid to serve others first. Reflect on the leaders you think are the best leaders. What makes them so great? I believe you will say that those leaders are good because of their “people first” mentality.
The Spring 2017 Harvard Business Review OnPoint published an article, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, where authors Gary Hamel and Polly LaBarre explained that the DNA of the 21st century leader is deeply rooted in admirable human qualities of passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability, and grit. Professor of strategic and international management at the London Business School and director of the Management Lab Gary Hamel and cofounder and editorial director of the MiX Polly LaBarre further explained how the aforementioned qualities attracts allies and amplifies accomplishments.
Regardless of how you view yourself as a leader, your effectiveness as a leader is dependent on how you can inspire, improve, and multiply the impact of those around you. Here are the 8 attributes Hamel and LaBarre describe that a leader should have to be at his or her best.
1. They are seers. Good leaders are visionaries. They are able to see things, people, and organizations better than they are. Also, they love working on the next big thing.
2. They are contrarians. All the best leaders rarely fit into any categories of being traditional or conventional. Hamel and LaBarre describe good leaders as “free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.”
3. They are architects. Leaders enjoy creating new things and building systems that meet the needs of the people around them.
4. They are mentors. One of the primary roles of a leader is to create other leaders, which means good leaders are generous with share their knowledge.
5. They are connectors. It can be quite hard to achieve any dream without a team. Good leaders understand the importance of connecting with the right people.
6. They are bushwhackers. Leaders blaze the path for others when it comes to innovation of all kinds. This is what Hamel and LaBarre said about leaders, “They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.”
7. They are guardians. The best leaders are willing to stand up for what they believe in by defending their core values.
8. They are citizens. It is never about them, but they are about the greater good of the community or organizations. Hamel and LaBarre explain how leaders have a “commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.”
As leader, it is quite obvious that serving is the key to your success. Without a service first mentality, you may find yourself without influence. And if you are without influence, you are probably without anyone who will willingly follow you. Then the question would be, are you leading?
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