Leadership of Yesteryear and the Diluted Version for Today
by Nicholas Ashton, CEO/CIO, CommSmart Global Group
Now it is just us, leadership is surely about knowledge, wisdom, strength, and that outgoing personality, communications, patience, visionary perspectives?
Are you a leader in the sense of the words?
Do you even consider yourself to be a leader?
All in all, what qualifies one single, solitary person to be classed as a leader in the true sense of the meaning?
The term Leadership is it a characteristic for anyone?
I was always told I was a great communicator, a leader if you like.
Me? Are they talking about me? I never said ‘No way’! I knew I was not quiet, reserved, certainly not a person with very little to contribute! Yet, my friends and colleagues consider and think of me as a leader. I always considered myself a listener, not a follower and certainly not to be followed. I have no dislike for leadership positions, and I did avoid them, it was others that propelled or pushed me to the position of leadership in whatever form it took.
John Quincy Adams words later in life in America did change my opinion and opened my eyes and importantly my mind to what real meaning of leadership is about.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."--John Quincy Adams.
Hmmm, if our actions complete these four statements, then that makes us a leader?
Very hard to believe? Perhaps so, but the truth is intrinsic, leaders are ubiquitous. From political parties, government officials, to families, each institution, society, and communities have leaders.
I was told that I am a quite leader. I have a strident mind, and a heeding ear, that is open to all sides of a debate and for these reasons that make me a noble leader. I am always willing to lend a helping hand, and be there to coach, mentor, listen, guide, and give advice to folks and clients in need. I may not lead a nation, but I do lead those around me in some ways.
Not all leaders hold influential positions in society. Having power, money, and authority doesn’t qualify anyone to be a great leader. Many of today’s political “leaders” have failed us, and rightfully so with this type of attitude and labelling.
Society expects too much from our political leadership. We want them to change the world while we sit back and watch them fail and then complain about what terrible leaders they are. If our great political leaders don’t inspire us, are they really leaders at all?
No, they are NOT!
It is those from a business background that have a far better perspective on life and society. If those that have had failures and now the success. It shows their metal and ability to pick themselves up and move on.
Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill are recognized around the world as two of the greatest leaders in history. Why? They were courageous fighting for what they believed in, yet they took the time to bring in others along the way.
Abraham Lincoln was known for listening to all viewpoints and learning while on the job, he was capable of change in himself as well as in others and ultimately the world. Although, in my personal opinion, not a man I totally admire.
Winston Churchill cared for more than just for himself and his country. He cared about the world and fought for it, leaving the everlasting effects in his place.
Why were Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill so successful then when it seems like so many of today’s leaders are being ridiculed, panned, and disparaged?
Back then, people supported their leaders, through the good and the bad, they believed in the power of change and imaginings. It wasn’t this ‘every man for himself’ attitude.
When things go wrong, we fault the leadership and find someone new, there is no commitment, nothing that ties us to what we once wanted. It seems we cannot think for ourselves!
Today we struggle with control, coinage, and the ability to lead for ourselves. As a society we don’t want to be told what to do, we certainly do not listen, rather we want to tell leadership what they should do. How they should lead. Even when our comments are out in left field and argue for argument sake.
Leaders of Tomorrow
Leaders require people to follow them, to step out and change the world with them. It is not enough to elect a leader and say go ahead we picked you now transform all the bad and find the good. Leaders need our help, and we need leaders who we fully understand.
Whether you're a politician, staff at a church or at work, parent, teacher, etc. we all need to carry ourselves as leaders of tomorrow.
It's important to listen, encourage, and be capable of change and accepting that change. Our children need leaders of today that can be leaders of tomorrow and ultimately leaders of a lifetime. Draw encouragement and wisdom from the world’s greatest leadership and never importantly, give up hope.
I truly think back to all the times when my actions disappointed others, let others down. Leaders are absolute human beings too and make mistakes. It’s the times we get back up, brush off our guilt, shame, fear, etc. and strive to pick ourselves up and start again. Not everyone is going to be an Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill but like them, the qualities can be found in us all.
All you have to do is believe in yourself.
Yes, this is a Change, a change that is for the betterment of all.