A few months ago I was given the opportunity of leadership at work for the very first time. I was undoubtedly thrilled and excited, but at the same time a bit nervous too.
At that point of time, I thought leadership means to inspire people and show them a path to achieve their goals.
Before writing this article today, to my surprise, I realized that I can no longer define leadership. It is too subjective and vast a term to be put in a box of words with unbending walls.
Having said that, what I can offer you is an insight into what leadership has taught me personally based on the experience I’ve had so far.
Leadership Can Show You The Most Naked Truths Of Your Identity
When I first met my team members, I thought it was my responsibility to give them the right guidance at the right time. Furthermore, I was under the impression that I would help them outperform their own expectations so that they realize they’re capable of much more than what they think.
I felt so because I thought I was accountable for them. However, now I feel they make me accountable for myself.
When I see their work ethic, their problem-solving approach, and their threshold for pressure, I see my own strengths and weaknesses as a leader being personified.
It feels like they hold up a mirror in front of me in which I see them reflecting what I stand for without any bias.
This helps me discover myself better and eventually, come up with effective strategies to work on my weak areas and better my strengths.
Walk On A Tight Rope
Leadership is often put on a pedestal and looked up to, but I beg to differ. I feel that if a leader puts herself at the top of the hierarchy, she will naturally look down on those who are part of the team.
To my mind, that’s unacceptable.
Since my team members reflect my leadership, we have to be on the same ground, lest the reflection gets distorted.
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Yes, you ought to inspire and motivate them to achieve what they set out to do, but to do that you have to dig deep into their sensibilities. Each team member is different from the other, and you can’t read him or her from a position of superiority.
Having said that, let me also admit that I’d be lying if I say I don’t feel proud when my team does exceedingly well. I don’t pat myself on the back or take undue credit, but I do feel proud and happy.
It’s a difficult balance to strike- to be proudly humble.
Perhaps, this is why it’s challenging and rewarding in equal parts to be a leader and still be a part of the team.
Nurture Leaders, Not Followers
Leadership is not a job, role or responsibility. It is a journey that you embark on thinking that it will add layers to your personality. In reality, it takes off your layers and reveals what you’re made of.
When the truth stares you in the eye, no matter what you feel, don’t blink. Stare right back at it till you comprehend why it was there in the first place and as soon as that happens, truth will be out of your way.
I always believed in this approach, but now my team gives me the extra push to practice it religiously.
It is very important to realize your own truths and lead yourself first. Embody all that you want from the team.
If you’re able to do that, you won’t have to ask them to follow suit. You will be able to empower them enough to pave their own ways.
Call me crazy if you have to, but I believe that if they can lead better than me some day, I’d be able to call myself a good leader then.
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