Welcome to the seventh installment of the 10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership. In this weekly, series I cover topics that tend to be overlooked, forgotten, or completely misunderstood. By sharing with you, it is my hope and belief that I help in eradicating many of the misconceptions that come with leadership.
LEADERSHIP INVOLVES GETTING OUT THERE
In case no one ever told you or no one before you ever knew, trust me when I say: No Leader ever became a GREAT LEADER by sitting behind a desk.
Also, no Great Leader ever became great by dictating from behind their desk in the comfort of their office.
Well, I am lying, a bit. In the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, General George Patton, and other such Great Leaders of that caliber did become great by leading from behind their desk and in the comfort of their office. Their desk happened to be atop a horse, a tank, in a foxhole and their office was the battlefield, with a business address that’s on a street called, “THE FRONT LINES”. These leaders were fortunate enough to be out there where the bullets were flying. They were the ones that were leading others not only into battle but onto victory and ultimately into the history books.
While the goal of any leader is not to make history the goal is to make more leaders. The primary goal of any leader is to make more leaders, make better leaders. Making more leaders is ONLY done not by dictating but by leading by example.
How does one make leaders by leading by example? What is the example to lead by? The example is simple: Get out there and be visible. Be highly visible. Get into the trenches, the foxholes, troop the line and everything else that comes with getting out there and being visible.
However, standing around, taking up space and breathing everyone else’s oxygen is NOT what getting out there and being visible is all about. It is about ensuring the people not only see you out there but know that you are out there with them and among them. Be visible constantly, consistently and most of all, be approachable.
Get out from behind your desk, out of your office and get into the thick of it. Help out when you can, do more than is expected and always find ways to do more for those that are out on the frontlines, fighting the good fight. It is your job to do more than just shake hands, kiss babies and smile.
It is your job to get to know the people that you are there to support. Remember, it is your job to ensure that they can do their job effectively and efficiently. You are there to support them in every way possible. It is not and never will be the other way around. You hired them to do a job, then let them do that job by you going out there and ensuring they know how to do the job, have the right tools to do it and know that they have your support in doing that job.
Do not for one second, let it enter your mind that they are there for you. That is not an automatic. What is automatic is that you know as a leader you are there to support those you lead. Remember, your followers made you the leader, they can take that away. Also never forget those that hired you, those that brought in, did so with the understanding, you may the title of manager but you were never given the title of leader. That title you have to earn and you have to earn it each and every day.
You earn it, by taking care of those that made you the leader. You earn it, every day that you are present, available, and out on the front lines. There is no short cut, there is no cutting corners. What there is, is you being visible, present, and with them with the sole purpose to support and lead them.
That being said, please know that those you lead, those that follow you will be there for you only after you have shown them that you are there for them, first and foremost. Never ever forget that. If you do forget that, you do so at your own peril.
Now, get out, shake hands, kiss babies, smile, say hello. I do hope you know what I mean. Get out there every day that you can. Be out there in the muck and the mud. Be there with them and for them. When you cannot be out there, make absolutely certain they know where you are, how they can get ahold of you, and most of all, when you will be back.
Yes, they do deserve that much and so much more.