Leadership is a powerful word. It is tossed around as the most important ingredient for success in politics, sports and business. We hang on every word a leader says. If it came from the lips of Winston Churchill or Vince Lombardi or Jack Webb we treat it as if it came from Mt. Olympus – a gift from the leadership gods.
I get it. I am one of those who believes nothing remarkable happens without a leader. A successful organization usually traces the beginnings of its success to a leader clearly defining the objective then mobilizing the troops for action.
Here’s where it gets confusing. We have a tendency to think leadership has to be loud or dramatic. Think about the great speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. France had fallen to Germany and it looked like England was next. The English people needed a leader to let them know what was happening and how they were to respond. Churchill’s speech was pitch perfect. His dramatic close is as inspirational as any speech of the 20th century when he said,
“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.”
Thankfully leadership seldom requires that level of oratory or persuasion.
For most of us leadership is a quieter simpler discipline. Where are we going? What needs to be done to get us there? What contributions can each person make to propel us forward? How can I keep morale up as we journey towards our goal. How can I serve those who are serving our mission. It is not rocket science and it does not require the rhetorical skills of Demosthenes. It does require taking personal responsibility. Whether in a C-suite or in a factory warehouse, you need to own how you can help. It doesn’t take a title. It takes a willingness to lead yourself and those whom you can influence.
So my word for you today is this…Lead. Take responsibility and then without fanfare just do it. Your company, team, church, synagogue, family or any organization you belong to all need good men and women willing to own the vision and move it forward. My observation is most won’t accept the responsibility. It is easier to just do your job and go home. But when someone owns the mission and invites others to participate in the process, and does it in a loving servant oriented fashion I believe truly great things can happen.