What Leadership is Really All About
So much has been written about leadership, I think it is the most prolific topic and we can talk about things like creating a vision and a strategy, or developing followership to bring people along or building teams – and all of that is really important, all the things we find in companies’ competency models – but for me, in working with thousands of leaders from top of the house to the front line, I’ve come to understand leadership as being about intention, about focus, about deliberateness.
It’s a very deep, personal decision to decide to take on a leadership role. There’s so much pressure and scrutiny today for our leaders and in the jobs that they do, we need to sort of look deep in ourselves and say “am I up for this? Do I want it?” and if so, “where do I come from? Where am I going? And how do I show up every day with that intention and that focus?”
There is a clear distinction for me between management and leadership and it’s this: management is a set of activities that make us busy, that we book in our calendars. There’s front line management activities and there’s c-suite management activities, budgeting, recruiting, board reporting, all of those things that take a lot of time. Leadership then is a lens. It is a lens we look through as we’re engaging in those activities. It’s how we show up, how we inspire, how we engage people. There’s so many leaders I work with that think about it as something aside, apart, “oh now I’ve got to work on my leadership plan” or “now I’ve got to be a leader”. If we really think about it as a lens, then really leadership can be practiced at all levels.