This is an unpopular opinion. And I can’t remember seeing this in articles, posts, or all those YouTube videos about inspiring leaders.
The mark of a great leader is not their ability to give an inspiring talk or captivate an audience. Nor to have a strong vision for the future. Nor to be a good listener.
The true mark of a great leader is their ability to STAY.
Let me explain with an example of this amazing woman, who doesn’t realise how great a leader she actually is.
She got her first management role, got herself a leadership coach (moi) and had a solid, well thought out plan for developing into this new role of enabling her team to be great.
And then all hell broke loose.
Let’s reorganise everything: how to organise the teams, roles, responsibilities.
Oops, you don’t have a manager anymore due to the reorg. there’s no-one between you and the c suite.
Here, your number of direct reports has tripled.
And yet she stayed.
She worked on what kind of a leader did she want to be.
She worked on how to have better one to one’s with all of her direct reports. All of them.
She grabbed her courage to gather and give feedback.
Sometimes she didn’t know what she was doing. Sometimes things got stuck and there were a lot of questions and not many answers.
But she stayed.
She got down into the mess along with everyone else and she stayed.
Sometimes confused about her vision, mission, and what was she even doing there.
Sometimes charged up with energy to take action.
Sometimes with great questions.
Sometimes reaching out for help.
This is how she showed that she is a great leader: despite it all, she stayed.
She owned her responsibility to figure things out along the way, to be ok with not knowing the right answer and instead to committing to finding out.
She built trust and authority.
She’s absolutely wonderful.
I think she’s started to see it.
Actually, she’d probably say “I’m alright I guess”.
We’re still working on that bit.
I’m sharing this because there’s already a tonne of stuff out there about how you need to have a clear vision, be inspiring, break the mould yada yada yada to be a great leader.
And yes those things are important.
But they only come from you staying.
It’s like they are the result, not the starting point.
So if your workplace is in chaos, upheaval, or going through interesting times, just stay.
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