Welcome to the eighth 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.
#8 Leadership Is About Getting Involved
As I mentioned in the last blog post and video, those you lead want to know you are there. They want to know you are present and approachable. I also mentioned that while you are out there, out on the frontlines you must be doing something more than taking up space, breathing the oxygen of others, or out there to confirm your status as figurehead.
LEADERS ARE NOT FIGUREHEADS. A true Leader would never dream about being a “figurehead”. Genuine & Authentic Leaders are way beyond all that. Figureheads have never been nor will they ever be leaders by any sense of the word.
Leaders rise above being FIGUREHEADS by getting involved. Figureheads that stand around taking up space and using up all the oxygen are for all intents and purposes: USELESS!
Leaders never have to ask what to do. Leaders step in and say, “here, let me help.” Figureheads haven’t a clue and for that reason, when it comes time to be a leader a figurehead sits there wondering what the heck is going on and hopes that someone else, someone at a lower paygrade will know what to do.
Think I am kidding?
You know very damn well I am not kidding.
Leaders that get involved do so not out of a sense of “looking the part” or “playing the role”. Leaders that get involved do so because of sense of obligation not only to themselves but to the people they lead. The obligation to those they lead comes from leaders reminding themselves where they come from. They Remind themselves that they started off out in the trenches, out on the frontlines. They remember that it was difficult, hard, and lonely when they were starting off.
Again, that sense of obligation comes from experiencing life working for bad managers as well as great managers. Working in organizations that cared only about the preservation of those at the top and vowing that if they were ever in a position to do something about it, they would make change happen for the better. Now current and future leaders your opportunity to make good on that vow is here.
Leaders that get involved, especially when they are so high up the organizational tree know they do not have to get involved but know that is why they have to get involved. Leaders on the lower levels of the organization, this is the time to start. It is the time to getting involved now as it will make it easier to continue to get involved as you move up the ranks.
The opposite is true for those that do not get involved and expect followers (aka figureheads). They get exactly what they deserve and that is nothing. They give nothing so they get nothing. But there is a very sad component to all this. For those that give nothing and get nothing for some odd reason expect something. They do not get it and they never will.
So, how does one get involved? Simple, YOU get back into the trenches. You dive in and get in there. Never be invited into the trenches. Never be afraid to get back into the trenches.
Never be afraid to get involved. How does one get involved? Remember, it is not about asking how to get involved. You jump in and start doing. If you have to ask, are you sure you are a leader better yet, are you certain you are ready to lead?
Yet, if you are still uncertain on what to do, well there is always the basics. Get involved by starting with the basics. I promise you there is always a need for someone to do the basics: Chop Wood – Carry Water – Dig Foxholes – Fill Sandbags.
Of course, these are metaphorical substitutes for the basics in your chosen field or vocation. Each vocation or career field has its own set of unique basics. Basics can and should be mastered and kept honed and sharpened constantly and consistently.
Take the following with you as you get ready to get out there: Getting involved should never seem like much to you but to your followers it means everything.
Until Next Week, I Thank you.
David Guerra, MBA