In traditional leadership, the leader is the center of attention, the savior, the hero, the celebrity. All kinds of attributes have been associated with leadership: fame, money, power, knowledge, freedom, information, prestige, authority, and popularity.
It’s the leader who is supposed to have all these things. The “followers” are supposed to look longingly at the leader and aspire to have all the things that he or she has. In the corporate world, only a handful, may be one out of ten, can achieve that, simply because there is only so little room “at the top.”
That’s why, in traditional leadership, the leader has to “wave the carrot” in front of the followers. That’s how they motivate the followers. That’s why it’s in the best interest of the leader to keep the followers ignorant, dependent, poor, infamous and powerless as long and as much as possible.
Is there an alternative? How is True Leadership different from traditional leadership?
In True Leadership, the leader strives to help others get all these things that the leader is supposed to have. The funny thing is, often the True Leader ends us having all of these things any way, more so than those leaders who strive for those things fervently and actively.
And of course, sometimes they don’t get those things.
But that’s okay with them. Because they are out there to Truly Lead, not to find those things. They are aware of one principle, which is: what you do for others, you do for yourself. It’s one of the most important laws of human relationships.
It’s also the law of dramatic business success. You can’t escape it. That’s why, as True Leaders bring out the best in people - their creativity, their wisdom and their hidden talents - they bring out the same in themselves.
This is important, because studies show that between 67 and 80 percent of our productivity goes untapped.
True Leaders tap into this unused productivity. When they channel and apply the unleashed productivity to the bottom-line and top-line, it shows up as numbers on their financial statements. On profit and loss statements, they show up as profits. On the balance sheet, they show up as assets.
In the end, people do look up to the True Leader, but for a different reason. They look up to the leader not for money, power, possessions or fame but for the qualities she possesses. They strive to replicate the leadership qualities in her and the True Leader is always ready to help them achieve that.
Ultimately, a True Leader is not out to create followers. A true leader is out to create other True Leaders. There is a chain reaction. True Leaders create other True Leaders who in turn create more True Leaders. And on and on it goes.
Of course, as True Leaders blaze the trail, they face resistance. There is resistance from the traditional leaders, of course. But that’s not their biggest challenge.
Their biggest challenge comes from a source that is least expected and is sure to surprise you. In the next issue, we will discover this hidden source of resistance and how True Leaders overcome them.