Last week we explored the first concept of “The Big Three.”
This week, we’ll outline the second one.
This one is quite simple – It’s merely a suggested two-word definition of leadership.
The definition of a leader is to: meet needs.
It’s astounding how many assistant managers, supervisors, team leaders, and CEOs have ended up in leadership positions simply as the result of a natural chain of events.
They never planned specifically to have a future in leadership.
Achieving leader status in this way often results in a misunderstanding of how to lead.
It becomes very easy to become a leader and think “I’m in charge.”
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that idea. It’s okay to be in charge.
The problem is that it can lead to other assumptions, like “these people had better do what I say” and “they’d better respect my authority” and “there’s a lot of pressure on me to make sure the job gets done.”
Thoughts like these may also be true, but they can keep the focus on the leader, and not the organization and its members.
What if every leader looked at their role in this way:
“I am here to do what is needed. My biggest job is to figure out what the organization needs, and then meet those needs.”
“I must ask the same about my ‘followers.’ I must figure out what they need, each one of them, and meet those needs.”
(For a great connection of these idealistic notions to reality, read Peter Block’s Stewardship.)
So, if you’re new to a leadership position, try this:
Think only: “I am here to meet needs.”
Then, do it.
Jim Autry says it well: “…be authentic, be vulnerable, be present, be accepting, and be useful. And by useful, I mean be servants.”