Leadership, Vision, Purpose, and the Impact they have on both ourselves and others.
Which people, or even more specifically, which characteristics come to mind when you think of the word Leadership? We all have different perspectives of what makes a great leader, and if we were to list names, there would be many types of people on those lists. Some lists would likely have similarities, and some may not.
However, I believe that even though there would be different names on each list, the people those names represent would all have some commonalities within the characteristics they exhibit. There have been thousands of books written on leadership.
According to an Amazon search, over 57,000 titles with the word leadership in them. That’s a lot of research, opinions, conjecture, and maybe even a few facts to digest. Since the topic has been covered in great detail elsewhere, I won’t attempt to summarize my version or perspective of leadership. I will mention a few characteristics that I believe transcend across most, if not all, great leaders.
For me, I think of characteristics such as clear vision and purpose, and the ability to communicate those with others. The passion they have that is driven by this purpose is able to permeate their peers or the team they lead, and motivation to achieve the desired goals becomes almost contagious.
“Leadership is influence.” – John Maxwell.
Speaking of books on leadership…my favorite author on the subject matter is John C. Maxwell. He has written over 50 books on leadership and is widely considered a leading expert, and is often hired as a keynote speaker to expound on the topic at conferences or corporate gatherings.
I have personally read several of his books on leadership, and have heard him speak on multiple occasions, so I’m sure that my insights are shaped significantly through his particular lens.
Since I hope to add more value to you during the time you spend reading this article, my plan isn’t to simply regurgitate information, but to give you a way to look at leadership from possibly a slightly different angle. Potentially even allowing you to evaluate your own leadership ability, and the inevitable
impact that it could have on others within your sphere of influence.
I’ve studied leadership by studying leaders and asking questions. That’s not a novel idea or methodology I know, but I wanted to share a few of the questions I like to ask. Hopefully along the way, these will get the wheels turning in your mind a little, and spur you on to discovering more of the leader within you, as I believe they have for me.
- What can we do to become better leaders?
- What can we learn from great leaders?
- What drives people to develop their leadership ability?
I think that each of these questions can provide valuable insight for us as we understand and develop our own strengths and weaknesses with regards to leadership. It is of great value to understand what we are naturally gifted with, and also where we may have some shortfalls that need to be strengthened.
Learning from great leaders is a surefire way to reveal some glaring weaknesses I’ve found. Self evaluation is key to improvement however, so don’t let the gaps in your leadership ability be a deterrent for you. The last question above is important though.
Being a leader can be challenging, if not downright hard.
So make no mistake, understanding what drives others, and more specifically, what drives you to put in the work and develop those stubborn leadership weaknesses, is highly important.
We need to understand what drives us on a deeply intuitive level. So much so, that it is ingrained within us, and becomes part of who we are to our core. Otherwise, when things get a little tough, we’ll just throw in the towel, and let others do the hard things, while we settle for something safer, easier, and mediocre.
In the sub-headline I mentioned Vision and Purpose. I reference those because they are both interconnected with someone’s leadership. Over my 46 years of life, I’ve asked many great leaders the following questions.
What is the purpose behind their leadership and what vision guides their purpose?
Rather than dive into the purpose and vision of others, I ask you the same thing… What is the purpose behind, and the vision guiding Your leadership?
Identifying your purpose and vision can provide the necessary understanding and drive to overcome inevitable challenges your leadership growth will encounter. The process of becoming a leader can be lonely at times, not unlike the entrepreneurial journey as you build a business or multiple businesses.
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There will be people in your life that challenge your leadership, just as there are those who will question your business acumen. At times, we will likely question our own abilities, whether that be to lead anyone at all, or to become a successful business owner. These are precisely the times we all need to be able to reflect and tap into our own purpose and vision for why we do whatever it takes.
I believe there is a leader within all of us.
With that in mind, I want to propose a final question to you.
What Impact does a great leader have on people who are influenced by them?
I titled this article The Leading Impact, because I believe that true leadership has an amazing impact on others. In business, great leadership can provide jobs, income, wealth, stability, and financial freedom.
In life, great leadership can inspire change, it can be a catalyst to impact generations of humanity through the ripple effects of influence on lives around these great leaders. It can ignite a flame of passion to be a greater person today than yesterday, and in turn, that flame can spread to others who then take up the mantle of leadership, and continue the chain reaction of impacting lives.
I submit to you that it doesn’t matter whether you only learn to lead yourself well, and never esteem to lead a team of change agents. Your leadership matters, and you can have a huge impact on just a few, or possibly even on generations of people.
Regardless, all of this would be possible because you made a decision to clearly define your Purpose, cast Vision for your life, and become the Leader you were created to be.
Much love on your journey!