As a leader,
Have you started feeling lonely at the top?
Feel like talking to someone about it?
Hey, that would be great. Let’s connect for 10 min. over a cup of coffee.
Are you someone who enjoys the ‘spotlight’?
Have you started feeling ‘lonely’ at the top?
Are you still feeling ‘a lack’, despite achieving a lot of success?
Then, it’s time to take a long hard look at what you have to offer to ‘life’. It is time to start looking inwards and reconcile the dissonance that is embedded deeply in you.
Leadership Qualities – From ‘Good’ to ‘Great’
Leaders are susceptible to an overblown sense of their own importance. They are so full of themselves that they are unable to fulfill their purpose.
Humility: Being grounded
In success, the spotlight is always on the leader. They will be surrounded by cheerleaders who may sing praises in their honor that could potentially feed into their ‘ego’. Leaders may start to think that it is all about them, especially so when their team or organization is winning.
The greater the accomplishment, the greater the need to check their egos. That’s why it’s so important that they remain grounded. The most important quality of a leader is humility. Unlike leaders who hog all the credit for the success of their team and organization, true leaders are those who are honest about their own vulnerability and are able to acknowledge the contribution of others to their success.
Leaders who are humble have a great level of self-awareness and are comfortable in their own skin. They never feel the need to draw attention to themselves. They rejoice in the success of others and empower others to succeed and shine. They are people who have the right perspective.
The story of Prof. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program and his leadership is legendary and has often been quoted by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President and father of India’s missile program. He said, and I quote “When the first rocket was successfully fired from the Thumba Space Station, the whole nation celebrated and congratulatory messages started pouring in from all quarters. It was during the press meeting that Prof. Sarabhai gave the entire credit to the team and acknowledged the contribution of young scientists like me. It was so motivating. He could have so easily hogged all the limelight but chose to push us to the front. That really was not just a lesson in leadership and humility but set the foundation for the success of all space programs in India.”
A humble leader is willing to remain in the background, willing to take risks, and comfortable in giving up power and losing a degree of autonomy. That’s something to be. Not many leaders are capable of being that. That is what separates the ‘Great’ from the ‘Good’.
Leaders who are successful are often put on a high pedestal by the people. In order to remain grounded, the leaders need to get off that pedestal and be part of the crowd or team they lead.
It is possible by being honest and authentic. Authentic leaders are comfortable in their own skin. Their goal is always to lift up the people they lead and not have the people lift them up.
They are careful not to allow others to put them on a pedestal. This can potentially create a gap – a distance between them and those who are less successful. Those who are inauthentic enjoy this gap, and do all they can to protect that image, always trying to stay above the crowd. This does nothing more than make the gap even bigger and larger.
Authentic leaders work hard to bridge that gap. They are open about their failures and shortcomings. They have a good laugh at themselves. When they are asked to speak, they keep introductions very short and simple. They rather prefer to talk about the work their team does and the contributions of others. They walk among the people and connect with them before and after their time on the stage. They do all they can to be who they are without pretense.
Higher calling: born to do
Another quality of great leaders is that they don’t just work towards a purpose but have a ‘calling’ that wakes them up every day and charges their batteries. That ‘higher-calling’ is what makes them tireless in the pursuit of their dreams. It is their ‘calling’ that not just drives them but ‘compels’ them to do what they do. It is something they feel they were ‘born to do’. It is who they are, what they know, and what they love to do.
When you work to your higher calling you are not really looking at your benefit but the benefit of others. They are the people who lead a life that they are not trying to ‘escape’ from.
There is no greater joy than doing what you were ‘Created’ for.
You would never want to become a leader so full of yourself that you are unable to fulfill your purpose. Leaders who are not grounded become unstable.
You must always check to make sure that you remain grounded. If you maintain humility, display authenticity, and remain true to your calling, the chances are good that you’ll be able to keep your feet on the ground and move from ‘good’ to ‘great’.