Last week I posted on how Great leadership is a rare gift. It was one of those posts on which the comments make it so much better. I love and value what everyone said, but a few really get to the heart of what I think is a core issue for many leaders.
I love what Bob Fichtner said: Great leaders know when to get out of the way…they give their team the freedom to achieve the goal in their own way.
I love what Cindi Thomas said: Leadership requires a lack of ego.
I love what Tony Meister said: Some (leaders) had too much ego to admit they were wrong. This created a subtle backlash behind the scenes as the negative chatter slowly depleted their reputation and heart following among the team.
Heart following? What a concept! If you are a leader, ask yourself, do you have anything remotely resembling heart following among your team? This comes back to empathy, which is what I believe breeds true loyalty. Do you show that you care about them as people? Or do you treat them like mere “employees”? Big difference.
This morning, I tweeted about how I am looking for another rock star to join my rock star team. I followed up with clarification that by “rock star team, ” I truly do mean that THEY are the rock stars, not I. Jim Raffel, who is a great blogger and a good friend replied asking (with sarcasm noted) if I am just a roadie. Check out Jim’s blog – lots of great advice from a small biz CEO who tells it like it is.
Jim’s question was fantastic; it really made me think in a different way about what role, as a leader, I do play on my team. And, as someone who spent the better part of her teenage years running around Alpine Valley, an outdoor music theater, amidst musical mayhem (and sometimes adding to it), it is a metaphor to which I can deeply relate.
Sometimes I am, in fact, a roadie. I’m not much for climbing up into the rafters, but I have been known to go get my team Alterra soy honey lattes when I think they need it. I’m not above that at all. Whatever it takes to keep the show going.
Sometimes I am a tour manager and an agent. In other words, a facilitator. I arrange meetings and get the team gigs where they can demonstrate their greatness.
Most of the time, though, I am on backup vocals. I am in the meeting to support the work that we have put together as a team. Not to be the loudest voice in the room.
Being a leader doesn’t mean that you have always vocalize the fact that I AM THE LEADER. More often than not, you are there guiding, coaching, supporting with a firm direction but a soft hand. One that lets the team feel a sense of pride and ownership. Shared leadership. At the end of the day, being a leader requires being one of the team.
At least that’s my way. What’s yours?