For a long time, I believed that every organization needed a great leader to be successful. I also believed that everyone needed a leader’s guidance to also be successful. I have now, over the last 5 years, come to understand we are all leaders, and we each need to be leaders for our society to be successful.
When I help to cultivate leadership skills in everyone around me, I have found good things happen. People enjoy themselves more, and I personally grow from them. After all, it is much easier for five people to push a rock up a hill than for one person to do so. It can be lonely pushing a rock up the hill alone. It can also be very lonely leading alone.
One of the definitions in Wikpedia for leadership is: “The ability to get people to follow voluntarily.” So if a person voluntarily decides to do something, they become leaders as well. They are using their own choices and making their own decision.
The goal for me is: How can I best support the people around me? I do this by trying to find out where each person wants to go and help them get there. Don’t misunderstand me. When a company I own must move forward, I want the team to bring it there, but it must be the team’s decision to go there—not mine as there “Leader”.
I work hard to make sure that all team members I work with understand our focus and are going in the direction we have decided on. If one team member starts to veer off course, I am there to support them back into the direction we have chosen. I have found that, when the whole team knows where it is going and works to get there, they will arrive on time and under budget!
“Restricting information and carefully guarding it doesn’t make us good managers. It just stops good people from doing good work.”
Margaret J. Wheatley , Leadership and the New Science
Steve Whiteside is a consultant specializing in organizational development, leadership and motivational workshops. You can contact him at, 604-786-5677.