(Guest post by Andy Books, guest on Leadership with Heart Episode #2)
There is an unmistakable, irresistible drive that a leader constantly feels within. In much the same way that a compass will always find due North, a leader will feel the gravitational pull to lead the way in just about any given situation. We can’t help or fight it, and to ignore it feels innately wrong A person may not be born with the leadership gene, but over time and if cultivated correctly, it becomes a gut reaction that forms the very foundation of a person’s convictions.
Natural leaders almost always do it instinctively, as if not fulfilling that organic drive creates a shortcoming of meaning in the soul. We want to do better, and more importantly, we want to help others do the same. We want to be the difference makers, because it gives our lives focus. It’s not enough the be the keepers of the knowledge base…guiding others on the winding path of excellence is what makes us tick.
Dig deeper into the organics of the leader’s soul, and you find even more. Why are we so driven? Why do we put ourselves out there? Why do we take risks, and tread where others fear to go? Much of that comes from our value systems and what we have been shown and/or learned from others. That can be just about anyone….a former manager, co worker, a respected friend or even a national figure.
I spent 11 years working in foodservice for a prominent chain restaurant, and it was there that I learned as much about how not to manage people as I did how to do it correctly. Thank God I did, because it became the basis for how I now treat people with respect and dignity. Sure, people come to work to make a check and get paid, but look beyond the dollars and sense. We all have a raison d’être and to feel valued, to say nothing of the importance of social interactions. Maslow was right….the path to self actualization goes straight through the need to belong, regardless if it’s in a work or social setting.
On the flip side of all of this is the outcome, or the reward, if you will. For many, watching the light bulb ignite or seeing them succeed as a result of your coaching or interactions is like receiving manna from heaven. It’s a feel good moment, and it feeds the soul on an almost existential level. The teacher lives for the impact on the student, the coach thrives on the development of the athlete, and the effective supervisor celebrates the successes of the associate.
For me, It’s about the effect I have on the lives of my children. My wife and I want to set the example at all times for both of them, so they see and understand what kind of impact we can all have on the people around us, if we so choose. There is no greater gift than becoming a parent, as it humbles us to our very core. As if having this mini-me under our protection and provision isn’t intimidating enough, we’re charged with molding their societal development and nourishing their ability to contribute. Steve Martin got it right in the film “Cheaper By The Dozen,” when he said, ‘If I screw up raising my kids nothing I achieve will matter much.”
That’s Bang-on right, Steve.
If you enjoyed this piece, please do share it with others who might find it enlightening. Andy is an important member of the Leadership with Heart community, which rolls up under the Intentional Leadership umbrella.
Cheers to being Intentional!