Effective Leadership Balances Purpose & People
Whether your primary role is that of parent, president, partner or patron, you will benefit if you know how to lead…effectively.
Just the word “leadership” conjures up mental images that, for many, are more caricatures of famous leaders than characteristics of effective leaders.
What comes to mind when you read the word “leader?” A corporate CEO? A head coach? A powerful politician? An influential religious figure? An intellectual? A philosopher?
Those are all expressions of leadership for sure.
But what about a mother of two children? How about an experienced tradesman looked up to by the younger guys? A career educator? A soft-spoken librarian who diligently sees to it that all his patrons are served with excellence?
These are also expressions of effective leadership.
Whether conscious of it or not, most of us are called on to lead at different times and in different ways. You may be trying to lead your family towards financial responsibility. You may be leading your team at work into a new level of service to your company’s customers. You may be leading a flock of volunteers to serve people who cannot meet their own needs.
Whatever the context, effective leadership is a balance of purpose and people.
The better we get that balance, the more effective our leadership is. The farther away from that balance we get, the more ineffective, and maybe even abusive, our leadership can be.
Brad Martineau, CEO of SixthDivision, got me thinking about the following leader types in a talk he recently gave.
The Abdicator. This guy is low on people and purpose. He doesn’t invest in the important relationships around him and fails to offer a compelling vision of where he’s going and why you should follow him there. He has abdicated his leadership responsibilities.
The Protector. This is the person who is high on people, but low on purpose. She loves her people…deeply. She spends time with them, empathizes with them, listens to them and nurtures them. But what she never does is challenge them or make them feel uncomfortable. She never calls them to step outside of them comfort zone. Because of her hyper need to protect them, they never grow and never go anywhere.
The Dictator. The dictator is the opposite of the protector. He’s very high on where he and his tribe are going but could care less what they think or feel about it. He’s large and in charge and you’d better just get in line and follow. I remember a Dictator type asking me once (quite unconsciously) when a group of us were caravanning to a football game, “Do you want me to lead the way, or do you want to follow?”
The Liberator. The Liberator leader understands that people need to be developed and deployed. The liberator knows that protecting those in her care from all discomfort and distress is not ultimately the best thing for them. But she also realizes that people are people, not tools or machines to be employed for the sake of productivity alone.
People have a need to be nurtured and developed not for comfort but for conquest – conquest of a purpose bigger and higher than themselves.
When a passion for better people and higher purposes permeate an institution, organization, team or family, its members are liberated to become the best version of themselves and achieve more than they could have dreamed possible.
I’ve written more deeply about leadership in the area of your own personal finances. If you’d like a copy of my white paper Priorities, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free copy.
What kind of leader do you wish to become?
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