Roots of Leadership, Part 2

Image of the I (heart) Me written in fireworks.

Before we continue our discussion on leadership, a quick synopsis of our beginning discussion. We made a tie into Valentine’s Day, yes, the ‘love’ holiday, but instead of looking at love with our significant other, we put it in the context of love of oneself.

With all the books and publications today dedicated to leadership, why do so many seem to still struggle?

We discussed the importance of achieving love of self before it is possible to lead others. Leadership must start with the leadership of one, and that one being one’s self.

As we move the discussion along, let me convey one of my favorite quotes pertaining to leadership. My apologies for not remembering where I heard it and who to credit: “He has all the attributes of a great leader, just no followers”.

We see examples of this every day:

  • The boss no one respects and only follow because it’s mandated …
  • The person who is in position to tell people what to do but has not the wherewithal to get people to actually follow …
  • The manager who complains about the ineptness of his/her staff, never stopping to think they are simply following his/her lead.

Why? With all the books and publications today dedicated to leadership, why do so many seem to still struggle?

Look at the list below. How would you answer?

a) poor leadership technique
b) no one is interested in going to wherever it is they are being led
c) the boss/manager is just not a leader
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

A case could be made for either a or b. I think it would be a weak case. It can’t be c, because we can all be leaders, remember leaders of self. It might take a little practice, but it lies within us all. Since c cannot be the answer, d is eliminated. Through the process of elimination, the only viable answer is e. To understand my rationale, it is important to look at one’s motive and purpose.

Motive and Purpose

These two words are instrumental when it comes to leadership. Leadership, contrary to popular belief, means serving. When we serve the needs of others, they are more than willing to go where we go. They like being helped. When a boss’s sole motivation is self-promotion, he/she will struggle to get others to follow. When a business’s sole purpose is to show a profit, which we all know is important, they will struggle to get buy-in from its employees.

Believe it or not, these misplaced motives stem from a lack of the love of one self. It is the desire to prove to the world that “I am better, richer, smarter, than you.” It is going through life always thinking you have something to prove. When we have a love of self-first, we believe that each day, the only one we have anything to prove to is ourselves.

Now granted, for many that love of one self involves rising to the top of the corporate ladder, but often we do see in these people the genuine desire to help others along the way. And, generally, the people who do have genuine desire to help others are the ones who make it to the “top.”

When we have love of ourselves, we believe in ourselves. Our motives are pure, and our purpose is always clear. This gives us passion and energy, which far surpasses technique. It always leads to places of interest, otherwise why else would you go? When you are going to a place of interest, others will always want to go with you.

Love, love of one self, the very foundation of leadership. It all begins with the leading of one, one self.

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