As a kid growing up, my dad and other adults were my models for leadership. There was my dad’s leadership in the home and there was the leadership of the bosses I had at various jobs – back at a time when there were plenty of jobs for teens. From my perspective, leadership seemed fairly simple – you do as your told or else. It made sense. Those in positions of leadership were brought up by traditionalists and that’s just how it was. This is no longer the case
The role of a leader today is not to get things done (transactional). The primary role of a leader is to elevate his or her people to their highest performance level and being (transformational). Their lives depend on their leader’s willingness to take on this responsibility.
In the film Spiderman, Peter Parker’s grandfather said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And so it is with leadership. You and I do not have super powers like super heroes, but we have the power of authority and with that authority a responsibility to lead our people to succeed. True leaders accept this responsibility.
In my early attempts at leadership, I did not understand power or responsibility. I either attempted to use this authority over people to get them to move in a direction through commanding or manipulating them. Or instead, I looked solely to myself with little regard for the people in my charge. I believed leadership was about the control or lack of control I had over people that would dictate how far I could get them to go with me. It wasn’t until I learned of the power and responsibility that comes with leadership authority that I could truly lead my people. They became followers of my leadership and without followers, there is no leadership.
Your role then as a leader is to exercise this authority in a powerful, responsible and creative way. Take responsibility for how you lead your people. Take responsibility for how you lead yourself. Your people are watching and paying attention to how you do both. A great leader has all the capacity for creating followers by taking responsibility for his or her own actions. Great leaders know that they have no true power over their people and that motivating and inspiring people into action and productivity comes from a power within.
Remember, the lives of your people depend on your willingness to take responsibility for your leadership authority – make your primary role that of elevating them to their highest level of performance and being.
Related Article by Cheri Valentine: Qualities of Creative and Successful Leaders
Robb Braun is a Success Strategist and Founder and President of The Leadership Source. He works with progressive companies and spirited leaders who desire to succeed at the highest levels. Robb is an executive coach, corporate trainer and speaks on leadership and personal development for companies and organizations throughout the country. He is the author of Nothing but the BEST! Proven Insights for the Most Effective Ways to Elevate Your Personnel to their Highest levels of Performance and his latest online eCourse Assertive Leadership: Mastering Your Communications had just launched.