Random thoughts on leadership :
1. If you are a leader who needs *excellent* data to make a decision, you’re not a leader you’re a data follower. Nothing wrong with that – data is great – but know who you are. Data is like auditing. It already happened. It’s not a map of the future. Leaders use imperfect data, intuition and experience to make hard calls. You study data but you shape a path forward.
2. If you like to be right, do research. Be a researcher. Be a scientist. We need scientists. If you want to lead, be knowledgeable, teachable and devoted to your people. Devoted. For example – ask yourself this before you communicate: Do I want to be right about wearing masks or do I want my neighbors to wear one? That will determine how you talk about wearing masks and everything else. If you were right about masks, you’re not a heroine. If you engaged all the people who needed to be together in the message – and people then *wore them*, you’re a leader. Then the people who wore them are the heroes. Not you. Got it?
3. If you think you could be a better leader if only the people would follow you, you’re not a leader. Yet. It’s like the teacher that says she’d be a great teacher if she had a better group of students. These are our/your people. You either reach them or you don’t. You have to shape yourself to the world as it is, and fall in love with all the people within your sphere – all of the flawed, silly, scared, angry, reckless, frustrated, knuckleheaded people. Including the one in the mirror. I repeat: these are the people. There’s not some better group —
4. If you need to be “The One”, need that credit and have to suck up acknowledgment, you’re not a leader. You’re a celebrity wanna be. You’re cultivating a brand not fulfilling a purpose. Leaders devote themselves to a purpose with or without recognition or acknowledgment. Even when people think them foolish, stupid or ridiculous. They just keep looking for new ways to help everyone move forward. Recognition usually comes way past the time you need it and not in the form most helpful. Trusted advisors are far better than fans any day. And real friends are priceless.
5. If you need to feel successful – you need to know you will succeed before you commit to work or a cause, you’re not a leader. You’re a careerist. Nothing wrong with that but leaders are people willing to commit to work/project/purpose whether or not success is guaranteed or even likely. “We do good work, because we do good work”. Because we care enough to be on the field, in any conditions. We play in any weather. (My first sports analogy. I’m so proud).
6. Don’t have – or be – anyone’s guru. Unless you just don’t want the responsibility for your own spiritual, emotional, economic existence. Or you think you can make money or amass power from those looking for an easier softer way. Suspending your own judgment – replacing critical thinking with any form of blind acceptance is abdication of your responsibility. You own your own life and moreover the responsibility for your own gifts whatever they may be. Starting with your time and energy. Share wisdom and experience generously. And use your own mind. Don’t be afraid to evolve. Out loud and in public. “I once was lost but now I’m found” is the second oldest human story.
As usual, I wrote this for me and maybe for you too.