The paradox of leadership is that it is one subject that is most discussed, but also least understood. Yet it’s a subject which affects our whole world. It is as pervasive as life itself, yet elusive. There are so many in positions of leadership. It is one thing to be in a position of leadership and quite another to exercise leadership. Leadership is one subject that is so abused, less than used. Where is our sense of leadership if 3 year olds are bashed because their parents support a particular party? Would billions of US dollars not be better spend feeding the millions in Africa who live on below 1 USD per day than on an endless war in Iraq? The import of this article is to provoke self introspection in whether we are exercising leadership where we are.
There are so many definitions of leadership. Oswald Sanders defines leadership as influence. It is not coercion or manipulation but the ability to get enthusiastic buy in to accomplish objectives or get results. One of the best definitions of leadership that I have ever come across is the one by Myles Munroe. He defines leadership as “the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose”. What a loaded definition!
Affect Your Environment
Leadership does not reside in offices, it resides in people. The people who have affected our world the most have not been those who hold certain offices. It is common people who did common things to accomplish uncommon results. You do not need to have the money of Bill Gates to be a leader. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Theresa had no money. All she had was inspiration, passion, a vision, conviction and some purpose for good measure. All she wanted to do was to help the poorest of the poor of Calcutta using love which is “a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand”. Her philosophy was very simple – don’t wait for leaders, do it alone from person to person. She became a celebrated leader! Every one of us has the capacity to lead.
A Record, History or Legacy
What dream do you have in your heart today? Do you believe in that dream to a point of rebellion or stubbornness? There are three levels of influence in life. We all have a record, a history and a legacy. Those who coast through life neither affecting themselves or touching anything just leave a record. The second group is those who touch a life, start something, and make history. The last group are those who think and start something so BIG it can’t be accomplished in their lifetime, so BIG, it touches many people. This is where we all should aim to be – creating a legacy. A record will be deleted over time. History will be distorted with time. A legacy is eternal and incorruptible.
Be A Champion
There is a simple lesson in the example of Mother Theresa. She became a champion of the poor of Calcutta. The seeds of leadership are found in the one thing that you can do to meet the needs of others. Leadership is about being champions in your families, professions, communities, nations and the world. Secondly, the greatest leadership simply expresses who you are. There are causes which only YOU can champion. Lastly, you need to be driven by inspiration, motivated by a consuming passion, guided by a vision, anchored by conviction and fired by a purpose. This is the essence of leadership.