“If a leader cannot be felt, then the leader probably cannot be found.”
It sounds good when leadership authors, speakers and trainers write and talk about what leadership is, and often times remain silent on what leadership is not. Painting the picture for leadership mentees and trainees to walk into the role throws the whole concept of experiencing leadership into a frail grail of grey. To look to the left or to the right starts the process of leaders getting lost before they start the journey. Positively tamed aggression or assertiveness (if you like) and passion are the least of ingredients required for leader success.
Every good, performing and progressive leader wouldn’t stop learning (Barnes 2005). Hughes et al (2015) quoted JFK that: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” as already hinted. There are many lost leaders at the workplaces and high offices. They are present in their posts but are absent in their deeds. Leadership must be felt. If you cannot feel your leader then you probably cannot find your leader.
Aside from the fact that sometimes you may not feel your leaders, it’s even more dangerous when you cannot find them. They may be lost. Yes, lost! Leaders get lost in themselves on their journeys. It’s fine if it’s episodic. It’s a nightmare if it’s chronic. A lost leader remains weary without results on a long journey. It is always the responsibility of every leader to bond well with teams to build confident, supportive, result-oriented, forward-looking and ever-prepared teams. We all need one another.
Leaders must do a lot more of self-talking, self-introspection and self- awareness tests on yearly, half-yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and on a daily basis in order to stay on track, and subsequently map out a safe path through the woods so to get to the desired leadership destination. Leaders who learn the leadership art of blinking don’t get lost, anyway.
They think on their feet and are decisive on their journeys. They don’t get lost because they are always ahead of the journey before they start. A colleague once worked under a lost leader. The leader was always lost in translation and in negotiation. One thing that was dominant was the fact that he sees within his box. He was always lost outside his walls.
From my experience, I shared with the colleague that lost leaders invariably exhibit traits of selfishness and greed. Leadership is always going through some kind of scrutiny because of its snow-balling, enigmatic and ever-changing nature (Munroe 2005) as already hinted.
Thus, if leaders intend to wait for a beautiful moment to act, it would never happen. Don’t get lost to miss the moments. Leaders who stray cannot take relevant decisions. Followers wield power from teams when leaders go astray. Over the years, it has come to dawn on me that followers do not necessarily go after power or wrestle for power with or from leaders.
Leaders rather give power and influence away if they go astray. Leaders must learn to read the map to understand the mappings. True leaders don’t tell people who they are. They show them who they really are.
As always hinted, don’t say it. Do it! Don’t get lost. Be the bar. Set the pace. If you have to be intuitive, be! See the journey from a distance and guide your every step. On a journey of a hundred steps, the first step is as important as the hundredth step, as well as the second, the fiftieth and the ninety-ninth. In short, every step is important on the journey not to be a lost leader. Walk into the future. Be on the path to keep the dream alive. Don’t get lost in your steps!