Leadership is broken.
Perhaps that’s a mis-statement. Maybe leadership isn’t broken at all.
Maybe what’s really broken is our understanding of leadership.
And that’s certainly not because we haven’t tried to figure it out.
Thousands of books and countless experts have explored this topic on the last few decades.
And their opinions seem to be clear on a few things:
Leadership demands boldness.
Leadership demands clarity.
Leadership demands a vision.
All the experts seem to agree.
To get people to follow you. You need to be a leader.
And in a certain sense of the word, people can’t follow you unless you’re leading them. Unless you’re in front of them.
But the idea of leadership has changed over the last few years as cultural norms have evolved.
Philosophical creativity is no longer reserved to experts in academia.
Innovation is no longer solely relegated to large companies.
Inspiration is now as dynamic as we have friends and acces to online community.
Leadership has changed.
Leadership will continue to change.
Leadership needs to change more.
Sadly, a lot of discussions around leadership leave out the secret to getting people to follow you.
Better leadership isn’t more intellectual thinking. Better leadership isn’t more dominant force. Better leadership isn’t creating the public perception that you have altogether.
Leadership is loving people.
The secret behind getting people to follow you is to love them more.
The secret to leading many is to love much.
Somehow in our fast-paced, machismo-driven culture, we forgotten that you can’t bully community with accomplishments or charisma, you have to love them.
And sure, sometimes you need to have rules. Sometimes you need to have policies and procedures. Sometimes you need to have steps on a piece of paper that people follow unquestionably.
Those are legitimate. They have a place.
But most of the time people just need to be loved.
The steps you painstakingly demand won’t bring high performance. Just adherence.
You can shout and you can yell. You can fire and you can hire. You can rule your business with an iron fist. But you will ever be as successful as you could be until you just love people.
Until you love your employees, love your clients, loved your competitors.
And not love what your employees do for you. And not love the money that your clients bring you. And not love the industry that your competitors help you create.
This is different.
This is love because people need to be loved. This isn’t manipulation or coercion.
This is understanding that people are hurting. This is understanding that underneath all the facade of “having it together”, people are confused and frightened and scared. This is understanding that your love empowers them to challenge their insecurities. Your love leads people to achieve the impossible.
For you. Around you. With you.
Leadership is broken because people are broken.
People need love and leaders give them rules. Leaders give them excuses, perceptions, and dominance.
If you want people to follow you. You have to love them:
Listen when they talk to you.
Encourage them when they didn’t ask for it.
Give them the benefit of the doubt even when it hurts you.
Forget about their past screw-ups.
Offer to help instead of scolding them when they fail.
Remember that behind every smile is a broken heart.
Your process will work some of the time. A great strategy will help you a lot of the time.
Love works all the time.
If you want people to follow, you need to love them instead of leading them.
Sadly, the leadership we’ve been taught includes a lot of sticks and few carrots. And maybe that’s why we aren’t taking more people with us in the direction that we really want to go.
Maybe that’s why we find it so hard to be a leader.
It’s not really leading after all.