Whenever I think of Freedom, an image of Mel Gibson, springs into my mind.
Braveheart! All those kilted men with blue faces and bad hair-dos…a film all about the fight for Freedom. A film all about leadership. And at it’s heart a great leader. A man prepared to lead from the front, and die to achieve his goal.
We are all leaders. We all have goals, and happily, we don’t have to die to achieve them…although a few try to kill themselves through the crazy hours they work.
Many of us miss the point of leadership though.
We see it as ‘being in charge’, as having the power and control, as having others do we what we tell them to.
We forget that most of the greatest leaders this planet has ever seen, lead by their example, by their passion, by empowering others, and raising their self-belief.
We forget that people don’t follow titles, they follow courage.
We also forget that as leader, we create the culture in our business.
We determine whether our people will be empowered by systems or chained by rules.
We demonstrate our values (for better or worse) by what we do, every day.
You will almost certainly have heard of the expression, ‘the shadow of the leader’, but have you ever considered the size of your own shadow?
How big the shadow is that you cast over your business. The qualities you bring, the things you do and how you do them, what your personal impact is?
If you want to replace yourself in your business, you have to get conscious about this stuff too. Systems won’t cut it on their own.
In your business your personal impact is huge, and that makes it a huge responsibility because there’s another expression – ‘A fish rots from the head’.
Your customers, your team, and your peers watch you, they listen to you, they look to see if you walk your talk, if you follow your own systems.
Your authenticity and your consistency are crucial to your success.
What are you doing that others will see and interpret?
What meaning could be attributed to your actions beyond the actions themselves?
What could you do differently to signal new priorities or to better demonstrate your values?
Those inspired by leaders follow their example, even when they’re not there, even when they’re long dead.The culture they have created, the systems they have developed, the legacy they have left their people or their business, lives on. Their values live on.
Think Christianity, think McDonald’s, think Virgin.
Want to replace yourself in your business?
Grow a culture that embodies your passion, your values, your work ethic. Empower your people with effective systems. Be how you want them to be, consistently, every day.
Develop a team full of leaders.
Then get out of their way, and let them lead!