Authority is not leadership. Corporate managers often mistake their authority for leadership. People who are instructed to complete a task “Just because I said so” or “Or else” although they may complete the assigned task, there is now no inspiration or reason for that person to TAKE OWNERSHIP. The task is usually completed with much less of a sense of pride. Great leaders inspire. Inspiration is the precursor to passion, ownership and ultimate greatness.
Leaders ignite passion in others. People with passion lead from the front. The true leadership test is to guide and motivate (as opposed to mandate) his or her followers beyond their original expectations. The challenge then sometimes becomes to lead from the front for the leader. People with passion often “Push” leaders. True leadership never has to “Push” the followers.
Align values. Leaders share the values of his or her followers. Leaders do not ask people to line up to their set of values, leaders adopt theirs as the starting point. To do otherwise could alienate those who need the leadership in the first place. When the leader shares the people’s values, it becomes easier to inspire and motivate his/her people to more greatness.
Share the challenge, share the solution. Leaders value the opinions, thoughts, and contributions of others. The bigger the challenge, the more likely someone else has ideas to help solve the problems. I can not help but remember the old sports saying “There is no “I” in TEAM.” Although cliché, this is extremely true. No leader, not even one, ever became a leader by himself.
Leaders request. When you ask for someone's input and opinion, you are actually asking for their participation. Participation is a fuel for passion. Remember leadership is enhanced by respect. Telling people minimizes their input, asking people encourages their participation, once again this fuels passion.
P Scott Rayburn