To anyone that actually understands what leadership truly is, they have found themselves asking this question at least once. If you are doing it right, being a leader is difficult. A leader's job is so fraught with difficult decisions, challenging followers, changing rules and environments, the list goes on and on. So it begs the question, Why bother being a leader?
Wouldn't it be so much easier to just let someone else do it? Especially when times are tough, there isn't a clear goal or if the morale of your team, company, followers etc. is at an all time low. The answer? Yes, of course it would! But if you don't lead, who will?
Leaders give people hope
In today's world there is so much negativity. You can't turn on the news, open social media or talk to someone without something negative coming up. Negativity is a part of life, it always has been and always will be.
Leaders however, have the ability to cut through the negativity and renew a sense of hope in others. They lift the spirits of those around them and instill confidence that their tomorrows will be better than their todays.
When a leader is able to bring hope to a struggling employee, a beleaguered volunteer, a frightened child, they can help change the trajectory of that person's day, week or even year.
A leader that can bring hope to those around them can have a massive impact on that person. Which in turn can have a massive impact on a family, which might impact a whole community. You never know who you might save from a day, a week, a lifetime of being stuck in negativity.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples - Mother Teresa
Leaders motivate others
There are countless stories that exist across all of humankind of individuals or groups of people being pushed to greatness by a leader. In fact it is one of the primary roles of a leader, to motivate others beyond what they think themselves capable of.
How do leaders accomplish that? It starts with knowing and understanding the people they are hoping to motivate. If you want to get more out of someone, you have to know what makes them tick. So many new leaders fail because they rely on their formal authority to get things done. If instead, they took the time to engage and understand those around them, they would find motivating them much easier.
There are so many everyday leaders that exist in our society today that influence and motivate those around them. Some for the better, some for the worse and many, without realizing they are doing it.
For example, any parent is a leader. They are positively and negatively motivating their children every day. There are the quiet workers on the assembly line, the unsung hero on the football team and the dancer that shows up every day and works harder than anyone else on the squad.
The point is, there are so many leaders surrounding us that motivate others every day. Imagine a world in which they were aware of the influence they had on others and channeled that influence into making others better.
Leaders set the tone
Whether you are recognized as the leader or you are among the millions of everyday leaders that don't have titles or positions, you set the tone. The leader's attitude, demeanor and disposition on any given day, shift, game day or performance directly influences how that event is going to go.
If the leader is in a terrible mood, that energy permeates through the rest of the team like a virus. If the leader is focused, ready and engaged, their team can perform without distraction or interference. If that leader recognizes their leadership, then they can lead their team to greatness.
This is why it is so important for leaders that have the position and authority to recognize the leadership of others. In this way, leaders can capitalize on the existing influence structure that already exists in their teams and/or organization.
True leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. - Tom Peters
Here is why you should bother
If you're reading this, then chances are you recognize, even if in a small indirect way the leadership influence you have over others. That's great! That means that you understand the responsibility that comes with that influence and you are drawn towards that which can make you better. Even if you don't realize it, you have the desire to grow your leadership abilities, either for your own ambition or for the sake of others.
If you think that is true and understand what we are discussing in this article then we challenge you to really examine the influence you have on others. If you can honestly recognize that influence and believe that it exists, then we ask you... what will you do with it?
If you don't step up and take the lead, who will? If you don't answer the call of leadership, who will? Why waste the gift of influence given to you? If you are afraid or feel unqualified, that's okay! If you feel intimidated at the thought of leading, then that's actually a good thing because you are respecting how hard it will be.
Being a leader is often hard and lonely... but to answer the question, why bother being leader? Simple, It's the right thing to do.
Leaders lead because they know it must be done. Leaders lead because the world needs them to set the tone, motivate others and bring hope to those that have none.
Today and everyday The Leadership Mission will challenge leaders everywhere to stand up and lead. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be willing.
If you aren't sure where to start, we'd love to hear from you in our leadership community! We are trying to build a community of leaders that can encourage one another to grow as leaders!
We love hearing from our readers, leave us a comment below and share some experiences you have had while on center stage!