This is Leadership for the Regular Guy or Gal.
“Okay, hold on. I’m not a leader. Not sure this one applies to me.”
Yeah. It applies. The leadership I’m talking about refers to personal excellence, not professional success, however it’s defined by whomever’s doing the defining.
“Um . . . okay. Where do we start? What do I do first?”
This is going to sound way too simple, too basic. That is, until you give it some thought.
- Decide you’re going to do what’s right. Then you can better focus on helping fix what’s wrong. No matter who has tried to convince you otherwise, there is such a thing as Right and Wrong. Once and for all making the choice to live according to the principle of always trying to do the right thing can and will change your life. It will incite others to do the same.
“Well, I’m not a boss.”
Perhaps not in the classic sense. If you’re conscientious, ethical and operate daily according to the Golden Rule, you’re ahead of 80% of your coworkers–including the bosses. Anyone you’re ahead of is watching you. Bosses too. You’re showing them up; showing they can do better. And if you’re a Christian doing your best to live an authentic God-pleasing life, they’re watching even closer.
You may not be a boss, but you’re a true leader. There’s a big difference. Think about it.
- In every place you’ve worked, how many of your designated supervisors have been worthy of their position?
- Conversely, in how many of those places has there been at least one or two coworkers, untitled and sometimes ostracized by bosses, who knew their stuff and quietly went about making things tick?
You are the antidote to “Climbing Towards Mediocre”. You make the current trend of enforced averageness look ridiculous and pathetic. Keep everyone the same. Same pay, same amount of notice, same perks, same honors. All of it. No bonuses unless everyone gets one. No better grades because it makes nonachievers feel less productive. No personal kudos or recognition, and absolutely NO trophies unless everyone gets one.
Remember the goofiness of the U. S. Army giving everybody a beret?
“Why’d you do that?”
“Because we want everyone to be self-actualized and feel special.”
“You want everyone to feel spe—-”
We’ve observed how well that’s working out–this nonsense on stilts about handing out instead of helping up.
Those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can best help another person up by giving emergent, necessary help and guidance–and then supporting their efforts to stand on their own feet and make their own way.
You! Be a leader of ordinary guys and gals. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Sure, they do. When there’s no one around applauding laziness and rewarding incompetence, regular people buckle down and figure out irregular ways to make things happen.
When there are no extra funds in the kitty to go buy more, newer and grossly-overpriced goodies no one really needs in the first place, ordinary guys and gals huddle, think, create and figure out how to best make use of what they already have.
You! Stand out. Encourage others to have great ideas, too–and clap the loudest when they work and those following you get praise and advancement. Cheer for ’em! Make ’em WANT to be better!
You! Quit looking for faster/quicker. Decide what your goals are. Choose what will best help you reach those goals.
Then start. Set your own timetable. Enjoy what you’re doing; embrace the process!
That way it’s never really work, and you can quit worrying about how long it’s taking because you seriously enjoy every day. You won’t enjoy every chore, every interaction–but you will recognize the joy hidden within all the varied parts that make up every day.
Why? Because you’re looking for it. It’ll show on your face, it’ll shine through your actions and it’ll shower grace on those around you through your words.
You’ll be becoming more and more a man or woman whom others instinctively follow.
And that, my friend, is authentic leadership.
It’s what your world needs.
© D. Dean Boone, September 2014