January 19, 2018

The unchanging nature of leadership

Admiral Horatio NelsonWe’re so accustomed to ever-present change and the need to lead ourselves and others through challenging times, we’re inclined to think leadership itself is a changing field. I am anyway, or I was.

Actually, of course, it’s really the one constant…

I mean leadership in the sense of contributing something to help shape the future, or more literally, “stepping ahead.”

The nature of leading is a timeless quality, resting partly on skill, partly on personal presence, and partly on inner belief and sense of purpose, and more besides—an art much more than a science, and so somewhat elusive.

Our individual knowledge of leadership, of course, changes as we learn and grow.

And yet the nature of leadership probably stays the same, and so a very worthwhile investment.

Sometimes people talk about different styles of leadership. I’m not so sure. I believe all of these styles (or most of them) are part of the range of the best leaders—the ones with the most flexibility. Ultimately leadership encompasses them all.

Is it ideal that you enjoy everything you do?

Mother on the phone holding a childWe tend to think that if we align everything we do with what we want to do our results will be better simply because we’re content to be engaged actively in all the tasks.

But it isn’t necessarily so easy…

When we find a deeper sense of purpose, or if you like, a bigger mission which inspires us, we may find success at that level calls for contributing tasks we’d rather not do.

Some lower order obligations flow inevitably from our choice of mission. We need to do them to succeed, like it or not. The sequence of steps on the road isn’t ours to choose. We discover the path more than create it. If we work on a big theme some of the component parts are expected of us whether they sit well with us or not.

Is your ultimate goal compelling enough to carry you through?