The differences between successful people and unsuccessful people are very small; but that which is very small is very big!
- Some lead in order to gain the position of a leader. Others lead because they want to influence people for their good.
- Some leaders love people so they live to make their lives easier for them. Others love the potential that lies within people and agitate them in order to bring their potential to reality.
- Some are satisfied when people recognize them as a ‘leader’. Others are satisfied when others begin to recognize the leadership within themselves.
The world is crying out for ‘authentic’leaders who will not only lead by passion but who will lead by example. And this is where I want to stay for the rest of my brief time with you.
Recently I was catching a flight from Delhi, India. It was a zoo getting through customs and getting a place in line to clear security was a feeding frenzy among famished lions.
A 60-ish year old American dressed in Monk clothes walked by pushing his luggage cart. His head was shaved and under each armpit was a crutch. He wasn’t using them mind you. He just carried them as he walked.
Behind him a young monk girl with enough piercing to convince anyone that she had barely survived a fight with a stapler, followed closely. He opted out of standing in line with the others, and instead brashly pushed his cart, crutches, and girlfriend, to the head of the line. Just then, the man in front of me barked: “Hey, get in the back of the line.”
At that, the monk raised one of his crutches as if to remind us that he was entitled to cuts because he had a ‘handicap’ as part of his luggage. “I don’t care,” the grumbler shot back.“Get in line!” The Monk returned fire and exploded an expletive loud enough for all to hear … but one that I won’t repeat. (This is a “G” rated article on leadership.) I laughed quietly under my breath thinking, “We live in such an dysfunctional world that inconsistency in leadership is normal.”
You can teach what you know, but ultimately you will reproduce what you are.
That is the bottom line of leadership legacy. We determine the shelf life of our influence by the depth of how consistently we live out what we teach. Incongruent living is the curse of leadership in America. Inconsistent leadership may convince; it can even sway. It can persuade and even convert … but in the long run, it will not last.
We need leadership that lasts and that only comes with leaders who are genuine, clear to the bone.
Here are a few leadership essentials for those who will last:
- Leaders who last live for a cause bigger than ‘leadership’.
By that I mean leadership is not an end in itself. It isn’t even the cause. Changed lives are! For me, as a pastor, it’s eternally changed lives! If being a ‘leader’ is your goal, you’ll cut to the front of the line, and you’ll use whatever crutch you can find to help you get there.
- Leaders that last are those who are able to give credit to others.
Everybody needs encouragement and value, but when it is something we crave, we will do anything to get it and whatever we get, we keep. That is the definition of greed: “Keeping everything you get.” Learn to give credit away and include others in on your journey.
- Leaders that last live the same 5 to 8 as they do 8 to 5.
Who we really are is not found under the spotlights. It’s who we are in the shadows: who we are at home, at the grocery store, at the crowded airport. If you really want to know who I am, ask my wife and children!
Leadership can become a fad for a decade, a buzzword for book sales, a mantra among corporations. Or it can be a reality that we’ve come to that will transform our futures. Don’t settle for anything less or you might be found waving a crutch yelling, “#@*$% ! Can’t you see I’m a leader!?”
And no one does.