I was caught in traffic and, true to my nature, I‘d rather be moving than sitting still. I pulled off at the first exit and started to meander through the sides streets finding my way. I saw some different sites, got frustrated by one way streets and was a little perturbed by long stop lights. It took longer to take the short cut than if I had just waited on the highway.
Leadership is earned, not asserted. There are no shortcuts. Leadership is a journey. To take an off ramp hoping to shortcut the process just doesn’t work. Too many leaders wanted the position, the recognition and the authority, but just weren’t ready. Instead of waiting until the right time, going through the process, learning the lessons and being ready when called upon, they tried to take a shortcut. They became a leader too quickly.
People should rise to leadership as the result of a need and their qualification coming together at the right time. Too many leaders want to assert their leadership for ego or personality needs. These kind of shortcuts result their leadership ability being ‘stunted’. It takes longer for them to gain the respect of their team and lead effectively.
I had an instructor in college who had a very strong personality. He enjoyed being a leader. He would definitely let you know it! He hadn’t earned respect, he demanded it. Instead of being an example, he would throw his weight around and force his position on those he controlled. His leadership was only positional. He never waited for people to respond to him as an instructor. Instead, he forcefully put his students under his thumb.
Was his leadership effective? His leadership status only lasted as long as the class. The students resented his strength and didn’t respect him. They only recognized his leadership until his thumb was removed at the end of the semester.
Leaders don’t demand followers. They wait through the traffic jams of life, learn from them and become leaders when they are right for the circumstances. The followers make the choice.
Points to Ponder –
Can you think of someone in your life who took shortcuts to leadership? When you think of leaders you admire do you see any shortcuts? What about with leaders you question?
See if you can come up with some examples of leaders that fit the following: Leadership means power, but power doesn’t necessarily make good leaders