The law of addition: Leaders add value by serving others. The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. Inexperienced leaders are quick to lead before knowing anything about the people they intend to lead. But mature leaders listen, learn, and then lead.
This is a subject I’ve written about, blogged about, and spoken about during my career, but more so during the latter part of my leadership experiences thus far. I refer to this as the “Look before you leap” facet of leadership. This happens to be a leadership trait that I believe anyone in a position of authority should be able to grasp and apply quite easily. It is fundamentally prudent to know where you are going and what you are getting yourself into. The alternative is essentially volunteering to put blinders on, accepting ignorance, walking with your eyes closed through life. The more unfamiliar the territory, the newer the organization is to you, the better it is to look before you leap into uncharted waters. I’ll be the first to encourage you to definitely march on, grow, discover, seize the day, but in the interest of self preservation, go forth with open eyes and an open mind.
Another facet concerns natural selection. I am a significant proponent of natural selection. We live, love, and work in a tribe, community, collective, or global environment, depending on in part those who came before and for the benefit of our species, those that will come after. We do our species a serious disservice by overly supporting those less than desirable traits evolution has so effectively eradicated. I’d suggest that we are slowly killing ourselves with kindness. Some people I lead want to work hard, contribute, and achieve more, while others are the complete opposite. If I spend more time promoting and supporting less desirable attributes, I reinforce those attributes. Part of our success in business, in life, in general is a direct result of certain people pushing themselves, bolstering support from the “organization” ultimately raising the standards, the knowledge, the bar, and expectations for everyone.
“It’s improper for one person to take credit when it takes so many people to build a successful organization” – Jim Sinegal
“When a person moves into a position of authority, he or she gives up the right to abuse people.” – Darryl Hartley-Leonard