Leadership is about making a difference for other people and when a leader doesn’t succeed their people don’t succeed either. Leadership matters because people matter. It has always been that way and as long as there are people to be lead, it always will be that way.
Change is a constant in our lives today and leadership matters because no one and nothing comes to success without it. Think about it: virtually every great accomplishment has at its core, solid leadership. When everything is going well it is leadership that keeps people from getting complacent. When things are going poorly it is leadership that rights the ship, it is leadership that sets the new course and it is leadership that provides hope.
Most of us accept that someone who has suffered a loss will go through a grief process. We know it will take time. Many of us might suggest counseling, recognizing that people who have suffered a loss need understanding and support. We universally accept that loss is difficult.
Loss is tough, but did you know that the hardest part of loss for most people is just the change? All change is loss, and even if it is the loss of a bad circumstance or an unwanted habit, loss causes grief.
This is why most of us get up, brush our teeth, get showered, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat, watch TV, go to bed, get up, brush our teeth, get showered, get dressed, go to work,etc., for years on end. We do the same things over and over, expecting different results or worse, we don’t even think about the results.
So let me ask you “If you do the same thing today that you did yesterday, that you did last week, that you did last year, what have you done?” Nothing.
Of course, doing nothing is not a trait of a successful leader. Leaders must cause and manage change.
One of the greatest things a leader can give their people is hope. People need hope, almost as much as air, food or water. Without hope effort stops and progress stops along with it. Leadership matters most in the absence of hope because experienced, authentic leaders will manufacture hope from despair. Leadership matters because where there is a lack of leadership despair will prosper.
People watch their leaders far more closely than most leaders will ever realize. They do what their leader does long before they do what their leader says. A leader that radiates hope gives permission to their people to hope, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Authentic leaders lead with their deepest self, they care enough about their people to expose their feelings. They lead for their people, not themselves. It is why leadership that matters requires a keen awareness of people. Everyone can be managed the same but authentic leadership means leading each individual on a team or in an organization differently.
Leaders wander off the beaten path and forge new roadways for themselves and their teams. They succeed and fail more often than others. True leaders must be willing to change themselves internally to manage the external changes caused by their decisions.
Times of change are times of opportunity, but only if we are secure in our identity and our leadership skills can we see beyond the immediate obstacles and keep moving forward. We can successfully navigate the winds of change only when we take control of our reactions to the emotional roller coaster caused by negative and positive change.