This past Sunday I stood up in front of a large group of people and talked. And talked, and talked, and talked. I ended up talking for 10 minutes. I was trying to encourage people, and to lead them. I was trying to be the leader I thought I was hired to be. I really did.
The problem is that I wasn’t hired to be “that” type of leader. I wasn’t hired to talk a lot. I was hired to lead, but in a completely different manner.
So what’s the problem you ask? If I was trying to do something positive then all is well, right? Well yes and no actually. Trying to do something positive is good, but when it is done at the expense of something better it’s less good. By taking so much time talking, I stole time from the person who was hired to lead by talking, and therefore robbed the audience of more leadership from him.
Sometimes good leadership means understanding your role and operating within its parameters. Thinking and acting outside the box can be great, but sometimes it is subtraction by addition. Sometimes a good leader has to know his/her role and stay within it bounds. I think there is a misconception that good leadership is vocal, and takes charge in all situations. And sometimes that is right. But sometimes good leadership is providing the role you were hired to do so that others can lead in their given capacity.
Leaders don’t have to do it all, and sometimes they shouldn’t.