The Leaders Ultimate Reward: 'I saw Someone Grow today, and I Helped'

Leadership_Sign "Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile." ~Vince Lombardi

I have had a great book as a constant companion since 2004. It’s titled Leadership When the Heat is On by Danny Cox. A book I highly recommend. The book was recommended to me while I was down at Quantico attending the FBI National Academy and since then it’s been one of my favorite books on the topic of leadership and how to get things done. It’s packed full of ideas. Ideas that can only be executed if trust and team building are continually evolving as part of a learning organization. In the book Danny Cox asks what i think is a very important question, what is Leadership?

He describes leadership like this:

It’s important to understand exactly what I mean when I talk about leadership. The term can mean different things to different people. You might notice that I don’t consider words like executive or manager to be synonymous with leader. Some of the many definitions of leadership include: to guide; to direct; to begin; to be chief; to influence; to command; to be first; to go ahead of; to create a path; to show the way; to control actions and to cause progress.

Leadership the Honorary Title

All of these descriptive terms can be a metaphor for the act of leading. Any genuine leader will tell you that leading consists of many things. You can probably come up with a dozen or so additional descriptors that apply to your own particular leadership challenge. No matter what your precise definition is, however, the title of leadership is honorary. Those who are being lead bestow it. And when is that? When you’ve helped them grow and develop as human beings; when they’re more ready for life’s challenges because of your good coaching.

It happens when you earn their respect. Top management can’t appoint leaders any more than individuals can appoint themselves as leaders. When I refer to a leader, I’m talking about someone who has earned the title through a successful relationship with his or her team members. Those you have been assigned to lead make your leadership official.

Getting people to do things requires a skill set. A skill set that is bound in the attributes of strength of character, self-awareness, social skills, integrity, fairness, competence, confidence, trust and loyalty to those you serve as a leader. It’s a skill set  that can be learned, as you’ll begin to discover as you lead and inspire others to accomplish needed objectives and help them build upon their competency’s and confidence. Some leaders are better at it than others, but it really comes down to focus of effort  by the leader.

"Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not 'making friends and influencing people' -- that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." ~Peter F. Drucker

Motivating people and providing them with the guidance and means to reach their potential requires an elaborate and well developed set of skills, plus a personal commitment, and a sense of responsibility for getting the job done. The overall intent of a leader should be to challenge the status quo and to continually learn from every opportunity, while we focus on adaptability and excellence in execution, while inspiring others influenced by our leadership. As Danny Cox states in his book, the ultimate reward for the leader of people is to be able to say, I saw someone grow today and I helped. Leaders developing those they lead. Now that’s accomplishing something! Don’t you think?

“The leadership moment of truth comes when you realize that, as the leader, you are the trigger for change in your organization.” ~Danny Cox

Stay Oriented!

Fred