You lead, but are you doing it well? The question quickly expands to whether you are intentional or abdicating the responsibility that is in your hands. Leadership is needed in all areas of society; the pick-up game on the middle-school playground, the fight for rights, the race for the White House, the midnight shift manager at McDonald's, the parent raising kids or the leader of an elite team of Marines. Many are groomed for stepping into the role and others find the responsibility thrust upon them at a critical moment. Leaders receive and ever shrinking honeymoon period to deliver direction and become the required leader.
Leadership is not about a personality or charisma, but rising to the occasion and caring for those in your charge to accomplish the mission set before you. Bookstore shelves sag under the weight of volumes filled with lists of how-tos and endless week-long seminars to help close knowledge gaps are offered through pop-up ads. Successful leaders recognize they are not all knowing in all areas and perfect in all disciplines. They will surround themselves with the strengths of others, knowing they have gaps and can't do everything on their own. My history includes abdication in personal, social and work leadership settings. Recollection of these missed opportunities has fueled greater intensity to ensure I am self-aware and growing to ensure the mission is achieved in the various settings.
The pantheon of past and current leaders you desire to emulate had a starting point and grew into the hero's you respect today. Before those trailblazers, of the past, closed their eyes in death, they would concede they could not have projected their lives, every twist, and turn. These leaders took the risk and chose to make deliberate decisions and take deliberate actions, without the assurance of the desired outcome. Most often, this course of action was pursued with an incomplete picture, leading an imperfect team to make the most of the opportunity and accomplish the task. Their experiences created a legacy that delivered their story to you and reminds you perfection is not the standard. Setting aside personal preferences and comforts to graciously use your talents and skills to fulfill your commission, through inspiring those you lead to do the same, will be your proof you lead well.
Going Further: What leaders inspires you, why? Who do you depend on for leadership mentoring? Who is counting on you to lead? What will result from you succeeding and failing as a leader? Where have you abdicated leadership responsibilities? How can you address this leadership gap? What other leadership points come to mind?