Limitless leaders make a difference
Societies around the world are crying out for effective leadership. It doesn’t matter what sector or industry – whether church, politics or business – the longing is the same. Where are the good leaders? In this information age, we are not short of amazing books, videos, training programs, certifications or conferences that address this great need. There seems to be a gap between having the information and actually putting it into practice. This is what good training and coaching would seek to do: close that gap. What’s stopping us?
One of the key drivers of change is readiness for change. If a person is not ready for change, he or she will be unwilling to change. A willingness to be a great leader has to come from that person’s belief about themselves as a person and their leadership philosophy that must be grounded in service and selflessness. A great leader must be able to face their own fears, insecurities and unresolved issues to fully embrace all that leadership requires. Leadership demands impartiality, fairness, wisdom, risk taking, decision making, problem solving and visioning. If you can’t master yourself and the things within you that hinder your ability to do those things, you will limit your success.
Great leaders must be honest with themselves and others. There is nothing more embarrassing and frustrating than a leader who pretends to be skillful, knowledgeable and competent when their inefficiencies and deficiencies are glaringly obvious to everyone else. People are embarrassed on their behalf and frustrated because who can tell their boss that he or she is simply awful as a leader? Leaders also need to have honest conversations with others as well – even among themselves. Senior leaders and owners who are either oblivious or unconcerned about the leaders they have in place further agitate followers. This makes them conclude that maybe one of these groups is just crazy – the incompetent leaders club or the frustrated followers.
Pride goes before a fall, is a popular biblical proverb. That means that pride can cause your destruction. When leaders are too proud to ask for help, take advice, admit being wrong, apologize or sign up for a class, then they are only paving the way for their demise. Whenever we see public figures involved in scandals or situations that cause others to question their ability or integrity, it wasn’t just that instance that caught them. They may have gone along for years doing what they were doing, unchecked, unrepentant, uncaring that what they were doing was wrong or that they could get caught. Other adages say ‘every dog has its day’ and ‘time is longer than rope’. What you do will catch up with you. Swallow your pride and do the right thing before it is too late and it costs you everything.
Some leaders just don’t care. There is no better way to put it. Those types of leaders don’t care about their performance or the happiness, engagement or growth of their teams. They just don’t. All they care about is their personal goals and succeeding at all cost. This is a dangerous mentality because they will do whatever it takes to protect their own interests. Apathy comes from somewhere, though. If an apathetic leader is truly honest, he or she would admit that there is something driving that lack of concern or enthusiasm. Unresolved, unprocessed trauma can usually be found at the center of it all. It is crucial that leaders self-examine regularly and dig deep into those hidden areas of their lives that bring them most pain and deal with them.
Fear is a killer for anyone who is driven or controlled by fear. Fears are often deep rooted in a belief that may or may not be real. Fear combined with the powerful human imagination can create a false reality for people in their minds that dictates their worldview and actions. A fearful leader can be seen in a few debilitating ways. Either they are paralyzed and afraid to change or make decisions, or they are insecure and afraid to allow others to shine or afraid to appear diminished or inadequate in any way. However it shows up, fear will never allow a leader to fully maximize the team, the organization as a whole and sadly, themselves.
Being a limitless leader
Leadership happens at all levels of any organization. Leadership is a mindset that is not limited to a position or a title. What does it mean to be a limitless leader?
Know who you are. Take a deep dive into your own life, beliefs, dreams and vision of who you are and who you want to be. Make sure it is grounded in what is whole, healed and in service of others. Invest in your own growth and learning. Make it your business to become your best self.
Be who you are. People appreciate authenticity and truth in others, especially their leaders. When a leader can share their story of growth and overcoming it is very inspiring and creates a real connection.
Allow others to be who they are. Limitless leaders see the potential in others and create environments and opportunities to grow them. They aren’t afraid for others to take the lead sometimes or to shine in their strengths. Limitless leaders are more interested in development than punishment.
The impact of limitless leaders will be felt, regardless of whether they are in the limelight. Many of them are unknown and unsung, but I’m sure you can think of a few who have influenced you too to be limitless. Let your leadership be the difference.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, mentor and activist who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals ‘live limitless’ by identifying purpose and vision, aligning to purpose through authenticity, and breaking free of limiting mindsets and practices. For comments, queries, strategic solutions, and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.