Leadership is service

I’ve often seen the challenging situation where the leader of a business or an organisation has lost the respect and belief of those who are supposed to be following.

Rarely is that anything to do with the followers!

Many leaders seem to think that to lead, you have to make all the decisions.

The trouble with making all the decisions yourself is that you don’t allow anyone else to have a say. You might as well employ trained monkeys (or robots) to do the job because it doesn’t really require a brain.

Sometimes with this goes the ego piece:

If I am going to make all the decisions, I should get all the glory – after all, I am the one doing all the hard work, right?

Now I am sure no one really thinks this explicitly, but is it there somewhere? Is there a grain of truth?

If you listen to the language of many great leaders, they show a different mindset. They will talk about empowering people, about building great teams and enabling projects. It’s not about them, it is about the organisation and the people in the organisation.

Those who lead our countries and our armed forces refer to themselves as “serving” and for me, that’s a great place to start.

Extending the military analogy, the commander in chief doesn’t tell his subordinates how to take the enemy target. That’s for the junior commanders to work out and for the front line troops to execute.

Think of your role as a leader as one of service, not control. Your job as a director is not to direct people to do things but to point out (direct) the path the organisation should take. How the team get to the objective isn’t your concern – it is your job to make sure they know what the objective is!