True Leadership is not winning.
Winners often gain leadership positions because of an election or appointment (because they’re good at winning), but it’s important to realize, as Umair Haque points out in his Harvard Business Review article, “How and Why to Be a Leader (Not a Wannabe)” that mere winners are not true leaders. This is the case because gaming broken systems is nothing but an empty charade of living. Life is not a game, it’s not about what you have, but what you do, and why. That is if you're into living a life that matters.
Haque and I agree that true leadership—is a lost art. This is because leaders lead us not to a place, but to a destination: to our better, truer selves. This I feel is an act of love. Leaders must truly care.
Leaders must lead their followers to truth, worth, nobility, wonder, imagination, joy, heartbreak, challenge, rebellion, and meaning. A destination where followers have enriched lives that matter.
Here’s a brief summary of Haque’s six ways to start being a True Leader:
It's come to my realization that there is a massive difference between what we know about leadership versus what we do as leaders. In Peter Bregman's article, "Why So Many Leadership Programs Ultimately Fail," I've learned that leadership is about knowing what to say or do. It's about whether or not we're willing to experience the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of saying or doing it.
This reminded me of the story, The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson. I heard this story several times in my youth, but the child who yelled out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" as the Emperor paraded before his subjects in his "new" clothes came to my mind because he was too young to understand the allure of keeping up the falsity.
There's a lot we can learn from kids! This kid had emotional courage. According to Bregman:
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