“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.”
(Sinek, Leaders Eat Last)
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking about leadership, working with leaders wanting to hone their skills, and in the company of future leaders. A lot of the dialogue brought me back to this quote from Simon Sinek in his latest book. What is it about leadership that separates a leader from a survivor? We’ve all seen both, regardless of whether you are an educator (as I know many of the followers of this blog are) or lead in your profession.
Leaders are driven by responsibility and the capacity to assist others to reach their full potential. Survivors are interested in self, the trappings of the role, and in directing others to get better. The essence of leadership is distilled in the fine line between courage and self-doubt – courage to take bold actions and engender collective commitment balanced by self-doubt that causes the leader to continually reflect on decisions made, and adjust them as conditions indicate. True leadership is also the response to this question: How many leaders did you leave behind? If leading is just a function of an individual and the organization is lost once that person moves on, it’s more likely you’ve been led by a survivor in leader’s clothing.
I’m going to be exploring the notion of leader/survivor further in an anthology with a dozen colleagues who will all bring their unique perspectives to the leadership conundrum. I know they’ll produce some fascinating insights and I can’t wait to share their work with you.