Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pushed vs. Pulled

A good leader inspires others with confidence in him/her; a great leader inspires others with confidence in themselves. You can lead and barely say a word. Leaders inspire by doing, being, living in congruence with their personal values and ethics, showing others they can do the same.

Level or position of power leads by virtue of title, nothing else. It might motivate a person to meet a deadline or get that bonus but does it inspire them to do their best all on their own? Rarely. It gets people from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and often leads to burn out. You’re being pushed harder and faster. You’re not being led. Leaders help others pull themselves forward with little or no resistance. Visualise a string. What is more effortless, pushing it or pulling it? Pushing a string, or a person to do your bidding is like being pushed up against a wall. Eventually there is nowhere to go. Pulling yourself forward because you are inspired to do so is almost effortless.

Leaders who inspire people to be their best by virtue of want and choice will be remembered, respected and will have achieved their purpose.

A leader doesn’t mean someone who has a dynamic personality, and it’s not about how many friends or connections you have or how you can talk people into doing something that might serve you. It’s not about false praise which is nothing more than empty flattery. Leadership is inspiring another person to live from the basis of a personal vision, to want to do better for no ‘reason’ at all, to stretch outside their comfort zone because the leader sees their potential and is able to communicate it.

Everyone grows and learns in the process, thus creating new leaders who will in turn lead the rest who might follow. Leadership is lived, not spoken about.

Just as important, because leaders are not determined by level or power, anyone can be a leader, whether for family, friends, co-workers, staff and even supervisors.

And before you might say “I’m not a leader” think for a moment of a time when you did lead someone else, even for one specific event or through a problematic situation. What turned you into a leader then and what will guide you to a position of leadership now?

Donna Karlin

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