Leadership #6: Follow The People

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Extraordinary leadership will be not be defined by those leaders who will settle for executing great commercial or political strategy. The great leaders will be those who, learning from histories of failed political, religious and industrial change, realise that leadership is about people.

Previously, the core of the work of leadership has been facilitating the achievement of something tangible, measurable, actual. Often, it has come at a cost.

In the present and future, the methodology of leadership must be about how we achieve, which means, how we support, nurture, encourage, develop and maximize the people we rely on to execute the work.

A smart, intuitive and engaged leadership will recognize and work in the tension that balances the efficiency of what we achieve against the efficacy of how we achieve it – the labor and the Laborer. Which is why I love that quote from Theodore Roosevelt.. it says to us, the truest measure of leadership is not what you achieve but who worked with you to achieve it.

Set a task and see people rise to the challenge of achieving it with more creativity and inspiration than what one great leader alone can do.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton

It’s too easy to mistake leadership for statesmanship, the ability to command a crowd or the charisma to take to the stage. Leadership is more often, a set of skills hard to put your finger on – the uncanny ability to find the right person for the job, bringing teams together into cohesion, rallying motivation for those who’s stamina is flagging. Rarely is leadership about an individual accomplisment. Leadership is often no more than recognizing and calling out the strength that is already present in the people, to the individual and to the group – then offering a challenge to see that strength expressed. Whatever you see in the people around you, chase that down until draw it out, until it is seen all around.

I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?
Benjamin Disraeli

What do you think?