Here is a summary of the two most helpful things I’ve ever heard on leadership…
THE NEED FOR LEADERSHIP
A lot of people don’t see the need for leadership because they mistakenly believe success and achievement are mostly the result of talent and hard work.
But in reality, our ability to lead others plays a far more significant role than our ability to achieve things personally.
Consider the following graphs…
GRAPH #1 – UNDERPERFORMING WORKER
Here we find a person who is working at a ‘5’ out of ‘10’. They are not failing, but they are certainly underperforming.
GRAPH #2 – THRIVING WORKER
Here we find a person who is working at a very high capacity. They have intentionally developed themselves. They work hard. They seek advice. They are playing to their strengths. Their output is at a ‘9’ out of ‘10’. They have almost reached the absolute limit of what they can achieve.
GRAPH #3 – LEADER
Here we find a person who knows that there is only so much they can achieve on their own. They realize that no matter how hard they work, no matter how much they play to their strengths, no matter how committed they are to developing themselves, there will eventually be a limit to what they can do personally. So they have intentionally set out to raise up a team of workers who can work alongside them. Many of these team members are not as talented or as capable as the leader, but they make a valuable contribution. Obviously the combined total of the team is much greater than what the leader can do personally.
GRAPH #4 – LEADER OF LEADERS
Here we find a leader who has intentionally transformed their team of workers into a team of leaders. Rather than recruit and train workers, they now recruit and train leaders, who in turn recruit and train workers. Again, the combined efforts of a team of leaders is much greater than the combined efforts of a team of workers.
SO HOW DO WE DEVELOP OURSELVES AS A LEADER?
Why we do follow some people and not others? Is it because they are talented? Because we agree with their vision? Because everyone else is following them?
Is there some kind of science to it all? Or is the whole thing just random?
According to best selling leadership author John Maxwell, there are different levels of leadership. And the reason we follow ‘low-level leaders’ is different to why we follow ‘high-level leaders’.
LEVEL 1 – POSITION
Maxwell states that the lowest level of leadership is called ‘position’. You have been given a job or a title. People follow because they have to.
The problem with this level is that you never actually have people’s hearts. They will only do what you force them to do. As soon as there is a better opportunity they will leave.
LEVEL 2 – PEOPLE
The second level is called ‘people’. This is where people shift from ‘following you because they have to’, to ‘following you because they like you’. They enjoy spending time with you. They feel valued by you. They love working with you and under you because you have a good relationship with them.
The problem with this level is that it’s very possible that people see you as a ‘nice guy’ or a ‘nice girl’, but they don’t actually believe that you’re competent enough to lead them anywhere.
LEVEL 3 – PRODUCTION
The third level is called ‘production’. Here we find people beginning to follow you because of what you’ve achieved, or because of what you’ve done for the organization. People don’t just follow you because they like you. They also very much believe in you and trust that you are competent and able to take them somewhere.