World Sensation: Why remarkably nobody has built your leadership

The truth: you do not focus on accomplishments, and you do not empower others.

Maybe you have picked up a leadership book or visited some talks? Great! You know what makes a good leader? Fantastic!

Did you wonder why nobody tried to teach you better leadership skills?
My confession to you: I did not.

Then I faced an astonishing statement in C. Maxwell’s book “21 laws of leadership”: leaders are taught by other leaders.

After this, I started to wonder why nobody taught me.

We, leadership midgets, face two explanations:

  1. We have not met any other leaders.
  2. Other leaders did not consider us worthy of their time.

Let’s explore these two options and how they go together with you not focusing on accomplishments and not empowering others.

If you already wonder, please send me a message as I am curious about your thoughts.

You have not met any other leader.

Why do you think you have not met any other leader? The law of magnetism provides a possible explanation: “Who you are is who you attract.” In other words, try to lead people, and other leaders will be attracted to you by social dynamics.

Maybe other people in your organization face the same issues. They struggle to build up influence. Hence positional leadership is dominant. Positional leadership is not real leadership as it relies on extrinsic motivation: we all need to earn money from somewhere.

Another option is that you did not perceive other leaders as leaders.
“The more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he recognizes leadership — or its lack — in others.” Not spotting any other leaders maybe means you are an incompetent leader yourself.

But I am doing so much to be successful, says the little voice in your head.

If you are already active, think that “activity is not necessarily accomplishment.” Reflect on Requirement, Return, and Reward. Map your activities to the three Rs.

  1. What is required of me?
  2. What gives the greatest return?
  3. What brings the greatest reward?

How to meet other leaders

First and foremost: be yourself. “Leaders go their way.” Only by doing so can they maintain direction when a group comes together.
Being a better leader for yourself will attract other like-minded people.

The essential difference is also a leader is initializing the connection.
Even though you do not perceive somebody as a leader, you can still connect to him. Think about if you think they have value for the organization and your cause.

In a hierarchical organization, that also includes leading upwards. What can you do for the person above you to help them grow as leaders and in their careers? This approach is tricky as it requires balancing their needs and your own goals. Once you have identified their goals, look for your side’s best effort/reward action. Be aware that their goals are not necessarily as transparent as they seem.

You are not considered worthy.

In the second case, you have identified somebody as a leadership person. Sadly she/he remains ignorant of your existence. The law of the inner circle means that a leader will surround himself with people that he thinks are capable of helping him with his vision. A strong leader will surround himself with other leaders.

But looking a little closer, your “leaders” may not be “secure leaders” who “give others power.” Perhaps the leaders you have met try to foster their position first by building a good team. Growing a team of teams might not be in their interest. These leaders may not follow a strategy of “explosive growth.” Instead, they aim at linear growth by keeping things under control.

How to improve

Start with yourself. Foster your character strength and then build up relationships. Character is defined by being consistent with your principles. Easier said then done. Get up and do the work.

These three steps can help you:

  • Relationships are fundamentally relying on respect. Without respect, you can not build trust. Without trust, there is no relationship. Pay respect to others, especially those with even less power than you. Try to give away power yourself. Everybody has some little influence.
  • Follow your development plan; for example, one book a month, one youtube talk a week, and one conference a year.
  • Help others follow their development plan. Do they have one? Why not? Be their mentor in the first steps or by navigating complex issues.