LEADERSHIP: What it is … what it is NOT! Part THREE – Lead and inspire change

Quote Pic. Jelly man leader on arrow carried by workersPART THREE – Lead and inspire change

 

THE PURPOSE:  To inspire others to …  
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Note: This blog is PART THREE of the series entitled LEADERSHIP:  What it is … what it is NOT!  If you have not already done so, please read:

PART ONE – The INTRO  - 4 blogs covering: The WHY,  The WHAT, The SO WHAT and The NOW WHAT 

~ PART TWO – Be TRUSTWORTHY

In the previous blogs, I simplified the theory and frameworks on what it takes to be a GREAT leader , down to 3 core observable behaviours:

  1. Be trustworthy
  2. Lead and inspire change
  3. Be a role model

So let’s take a look at number 2.  LEAD and INSPIRE CHANGE

You can’t spell
C H A L L E N G E without C H A N G E
If you’re going to rise to the challenge of leadership,
you have to be prepared to lead change.

Those who know me would not be surprised that I’ve included ‘leading change’ as one of the core things a leader MUST do.  For me … that IS what leaders do … it is their PURPOSE.  Those in leadership positions are there to provide direction and lead growth in their community, in their organisations, in their people … AND continual growth of themselves.  We live in a changing world, so sitting still is not an option. Leaders are not there to warm seats in corner offices, sip coffee, stare out the window, shuffle papers and pander to the media.

From my observations, this is where the stand out difference is between a leader and a GREAT leader.  You know … the ones we look up to and admire … the ones that don’t take NO for an answer … where NO doesn’t mean NO to them – it means ‘must find another way around that obstacle to reach the desired goal’‘.  An average, run-of-the-mill leader will take people where they generally expect to go.  A GREAT leader takes people beyond where they expected; … perhaps even where they didn’t want to go, but where they ought to be.   That’s the difference.

A leaders role is to genuinely connect with a broad range of people, listen to ideas and explore options, lead and talk about change in a positive way … painting a picture for others about the adventure, the opportunity, the excitement of new and better things to come.

I promised you some great examples:  How timely that I recently had the privilege of listening to an address from a great community leader – Mr Paul Pisasale.  As Mayor of Ipswich City for the past 11 years, this dynamic leader won with an 88% primary vote at the last council elections.  Why?  He is a visionary… he is proactive towards change and development … he genuinely cares for his community and establishes valued connections … he is authentic and wears one hat – HIS – what you see is what you get … he speaks with passion and jumps on opportunities for his community to grow and prosper. He gave lots of examples where he didn’t take NO or ‘can’t do that’  for an answer.  He is focused on doing the right stuff, with the right attitude, for the right outcomes, and he refuses to get bogged down by risk adverse people or overly complicated procedures.

Like Mayor Pisasale … GREAT leaders:

  • care more than others think wise
  • dream more than others think practical
  • risk more than others think safe
  • expect more than others think possible.    [- Howard Schultz]

Sir Richard Branson is another inspirational leader.  He is a go-getter, a risk-taker, and loves a challenge. When asked what drives him and keeps him going, he is quoted saying: “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them”.

Folks … when you choose neighbourhood nannies, connected cowboys or your best friend’s cousins partner as leaders, expect that you will get lack-luster leadership behaviour at best.  They are going to spend more time having coffee and cutting cakes at local community events, than cutting ribbons to open new infrastructure and innovative projects that build a bright future for 20 years time.

Ask EENIE  - His strategy of remaining popularly elected [or just scraping in] is to sing Christmas Carols at all the oldies community groups … play the ‘local bloke know’s best’ card … and tell each group or individual what they want to hear … ensuring not to rock many boats or step outside of the expected square … so as to avoid causing upsets from the loyal voting locals who fear change.  That may be tactical political positioning, but it’s not leadership … it is mamby, pamby meandering;  it is ego driven, not visionary.

Great VISIONARY leaders rock boats!  They step right out of the square and they challenge the status quo, the mediocre, the average thinkers … they change the stuff that holds communities and organisations back.

Definition of madness: Doing the same things and expecting different results

Remember MOLLY? … he’s the one hiding under a rock and trying to avoid doing anything that may ruffle feathers … his tactic is the least you see of him and the less said the better, as that way he avoids being vulnerable to criticism … and hopefully this keeps his nose clean and his shirts unwrinkled. That’s not leadership … that’s cowardly protectionism.

Great INSPIRATIONAL leaders express their opinions and blaze trails! They step up to the challenge and raise the bar on what is possible … yes, going against the grain of ‘same-old’ thinking takes courage.

Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better

Now, MO is a caring, sharing type of guy … enjoys the social aspect of his leadership role and gets on with most people, but he’s not about to get too excited about making big changes … he’s happy to just go with the flow at a nice steady pace … just marking time for his Superannuation cheque in a few years, that’ll see him out … happy to leave all that innovation stuff to the young-ins … besides he’s still trying to master his mobile phone and e-diary.  That’s not leadership … when all you do is go along to get along; that’s comfort zone couch warming.

Today’s LEADERS must take action! They don’t need to ask for approval to take initiative or wait to follow someone else … they use their wisdom and purpose driven attitude to make a difference.

May your hunger for change be greater than your complacency to stay the same

We are living in times of the greatest opportunity ever experienced.  The changes taking place around the world are creating opportunity and access to global markets like never before. Technological innovation is a game changer … and for people like MO, that can be scary shit. Change constantly challenges leaders to be more inspirational and innovative; … and here is where we have a serious leadership challenge worldwide.

We can talk about the gap between the haves and have-nots … the education gap … the achievement gap; … but the gap that will drive innovation, creativity, and economic development in our communities and around the world, will be closing the leadership gap. We simply do not have enough inspirational leaders. To fix this, we need to recognise the real nature of leadership and demand that level in our organisations and communities.

REAL leaders are not looking to posture, or protect their position, or float along in the flow.  REAL leaders want to make a difference and fulfill their mission or purpose in life. It is the excitement created by their purpose driven attitude that attracts others to join their mission.

REAL leaders  build, connect, and maintain relationships because they understand that leading is about others … building a great support team. By doing this, they expand their areas of influence.  Leadership strength can be measured by the power of their influence.

INFLUENTIAL leadership is developed by truly knowing who they are, where they want to go, and how they are going to get there. The most important relationship for effective leadership is the one they have with themselves.  Leadership starts from within.  The best way to inspire others is to BE AUTHENTIC … BE REAL … wear one hat – YOURS!

 People must believe in the leader before they will believe in the vision.

So … I challenge YOU:

  • WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP CLOSE THE LEADERSHIP GAP?
  • WILL YOU STOP ACCEPTING ‘SAME OLD’ AND DEMAND AUTHENTIC, VISIONARY, PASSIONATE LEADERS? 
  • WILL YOU STAND UP AND BE A REAL LEADER … A GREAT LEADER … AN INSPIRATIONAL LEADER?
  • TAKE A REAL INTEREST … FIND GOOD POTENTIAL LEADERS, ENCOURAGE THEM, SUPPORT THEM TO STEP UP AND LEAD MUCH NEEDED CHANGE IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

 

What does it mean to be a role model? … more on that in my next blog.

To read more online, click on  Part FOUR – Be a ROLE MODEL… [when released]

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