I came across this quote from John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States, who was in office from 1825–1829. It reminded me that leadership is not a title, a role or a position; it is simply who you are being for others.
When I talk about leadership I ask the audience one simple question:
I get many responses: purpose, vision, values, confidence, relationship building skills, even charisma – all good answers, but the one answer often missing is ‘a follower’.
Although the role of the follower is not often discussed, being a leader means that people choose to follow, not for the leader’s sake, but for themselves. This world the leader describes is attractive to them and because the example the leader sets, shows them it is possible to achieve. People choose to follow leaders that inspire and enable them to accomplish more than they would on their own.
People connect most powerfully with their Higher Purpose – the cause, belief, the very reason an organisation exists. As guardians of the Higher Purpose, leaders create or co-create a vision, that is a powerful representation of the organisation delivering on its Higher Purpose. If this is communicated in a way that people choose to get involved, we say they are impelled into action, not compelled, i.e. they are choosing to be a follower because they believe what the leader believes.
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