We all face the reality of a future, not a great deal of which is clearly defined. Change seems the only constant. And yet in the midst of this reality we are asked to move forward. Now more than ever we need leadership, and leaders who view the future as something to strive for with enthusiasm! Leaders who lead for the future!
What is a leader?
There are as many definitions as there are opinions. Warren Bennis suggests that “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” John Maxwell on the other hand says that “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
I believe that the new Role of Leadership is preparing people for the future. Helping staff face reality and mobilizing them to embrace the changes which are inevitable. Change is painful and generates resistance. People are afraid at the incessant pace of the change they are facing.
Leaders need to, by example, show that many things in life are worth the pain, and change is one of them. It’s a question of vision.
What Leaders See
The great leadership differentiator, in those who lead, is the vision exercised. In 2014 vision has come to equate to the abstract. The true value of vision is in the accuracy. In the honest unfiltered way we view ourselves and those we lead. Too often leaders are asked to insulate as opposed to equip.
If change is the new reality of the future, then the ability to critically evaluate where we are and what needs to be done to position for success in the future is the true requirement of leaders today. Where are the gaps, and how do we encourage facing reality while at the same time encouraging productivity and success.
The Silent Enemy
Perhaps the first step is actually a step back. It has always been easy to solve the problems, to provide the answers and to assume the saviour role. The truth is leaders don’t have all the answers. Success is found in the empowerment of those we lead, and the avoidance of doing it ourselves. Experience and growth is found in failure as well as success. In practical terms it means empowering our teams to assume the confidence to take on new challenges fail or not, as opposed to doing it ourselves. – Real leadership. Facilitating the growth and maturity of future leaders!
Without question, we face a future that demands leadership, but most of all those who lead for the future, arm in arm with those they lead!