There was a great quote in my company newsletter last month. To anyone who doesn’t receive that newsletter, here it is.
“Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders”
You may think that this makes no sense that any group must have one leader. But the reality is that any good leader will foster and develop other leaders thereby achieving far more through the group than they can on their own. Even more controversial is the belief that anyone, in whatever position they find themselves, can be a leader. I’ll restate that. Anyone can be a leader. I have seen many of our team members grow and achieve great things on the project on which I am now working. Their example makes them leaders.
Now for the harsh reality, not everyone will become a leader. Why? It is a personal choice that we all make about who we will be. Becoming a leader requires sacrifice. Leadership begins with a passionate desire to improve your “world”. But, it often appears to have great personal risk, because leaders derive their power, not from their position, but from the way they inspire others. It requires great personal investment. Leaders inspire those around them to achieve success. They treat the individuals around them with honor and respect. They teach, listen, collaborate, and coach. They keep their eye on the big picture. They enable people to achieve great things. They give the team credit for accomplishments. Finally and most important, they serve for a purpose.
My charge is this. Lead! Lead by performing your job excellently and passionately. Others will follow your example. If you’re an accountant, ensure that payments to our subcontractors and vendors occur within the stated payment terms. If you’re an engineer, ensure that the submittals and RFIs are completed expeditiously. If you’re a superintendent, ensure that construction activity conflicts are resolved timely. Whatever position you are in, find the best answer when there is a challenge. Set an example. Do the right thing, the right way. Enable a successful completion of your portion of the project.
Here are a few other quotes that inspire me:
Leadership isn’t just about issuing orders and expecting them to be followed blindly. Rather, it’s about training people to have the courage to make their own decisions and adapt rapidly to complex environments and changing situations. Obedience is just too simple. In a highly complex situation, anything too simple doesn’t work.
People acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.