On the 21st of June 2015, one father had committed to meet with another father. It was Fathers’ Day. These two fathers had not met or talked over a stretch of 10 years!
Not surprisingly, the meeting was emotional. One father got to meet his grandchildren for the first time. One, two, then three… the 10, 8 and 6-year old kids hugged their grandfather for the very first time. And then they introduced themselves to him.
The grandfather was in tears, the other father was confused. Lunch was followed by tea. Then there were the photos. The fathers stood side by side, their chests thrust out forward in silent pride.
There was a sense of closure. This closure that was brought about by a choice to take leadership of a seriously broken relationship.
The first domino that precipitated all this was one father extending forgiveness to another.
The challenge of leadership is the responsibility that comes with it. Leadership isn’t easy. It is messy on the most part.
Sometimes, we may find ourselves unfulfilled in our leadership. And this is because we find ourselves buffeted by three major challenges: a misinformed mindset, an impaired vision, and our values in the trash.
We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” ~Jack Gilbert
1. Misinformed Mindset
In my early 20’s, I had a romanticized view of leadership. It involved working hard towards three beautiful letters on my business cards, CEO. Sprinkled in the mix was a corner office, a off-road vehicle, and a house is a leafy suburb.
Now, there is nothing wrong with all these. But there was a problem with my mindset. It wasn’t wired for my leadership success. What I had in mind was a positional leader. One who held power and authority vested on the office he held.
However, my attitude towards leadership wasn’t queer. And this is because everything I did was conditioned. Someone or something set the motion in process. And that was the complex amalgamation of my surroundings and relationships.
Real leadership exists in the mind and not in positions. It requires a significant mind-shift. We struggle with leadership because of the challenging work involved. To lead is an action.
The biggest challenge that leadership throws at you isn’t the learning or the techniques. It isn’t the environment you find yourself in.
The challenge of leadership is in the consistent practice and time to get yourself in the right mindset. That mindset that will actually trigger your leadership, especially when you are under pressure.
2. Impaired Vision
People perish for a lack of vision! Chuck Swindle said this of vision “…it is essential for survival. It is spawned by faith, sustained by hope, sparked by imagination, and strengthened by enthusiasm. It is greater than sight, deeper than a dream, broader than an idea. Vision encompasses vast vistas outside the realm of the predictable, the safe, the expected. No wonder we perish without it.”
We are living in an era of information overload. The radio is in our house, car and phones. Adverts scream out for our attention everywhere we look. Live TV has come home to roost on our phones, tablets and computers. The noise is too much!
Our visions are under threat! And may I propose that many times, we may not have even paused to really think what our real vision is!
When your vision is in place, you have to deliberate map of where you are going.
3. Values In The Trash
Our values are important and are a strong communication to the external world of what we stand for, what we will do, but even more powerful, what or with whom we will not associate ourselves with.
Values are the anchor that make sure that your vision doesn’t set sail haphazardly. They become your protection, especially during vulnerable times.
However, I have found that common sense is not always common practice. And this is why I struggle with discipline. The loss of my credibility in light of my values is what keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Many times, it is thought that only the followers are to be accountable. The reality is that all are accountable, all the time!
The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” ~Jim Rohn
When I wake up every morning, I remind myself of these: my mindset needs constant calibration, my vision needs to be as clear as crystal and my values should be in-my-face at all times.
Q: What are your challenges as you strive to be a leader? Have your say by clicking here.