Leading is a verb

I write about leadership quite a bit. It's a big part of the work I do with my corporate clients when they bring me in to help them with things like change, engagement, and culture.

The other day, a colleague of mine shared a reaction to the word "leadership," saying:

When I see the word leadership, I think of the quote from the author John LeCarre: "A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." What ever happened to MBWA?

Good point.  Leading is a verb. A leader is known by the actions he or she takes.

Here are three actions of real leaders.

1. They ask for input - Leaders know that power is not in position. Rather, power is in posture. And the most powerful posture is humility. An open and receptive posture that invites and welcomes many voices and perspectives. "What are your thoughts?" is a positive power play with real potential. So, leaders actively seek the ideas of their team members. "What do you guys think we should do?" is not a sign of weakness on the part of the leader. Quite the contrary. It's brilliance. Leaders ask for help. Leaders listen. And, in so doing, they engage and empower others.

2. They seek wisdom before they take action - Leaders take action based on what they believe is wise, that is, the right course for the right reasons. Where do they find this wisdom? While leaders often have good ideas, even the smartest know that they don't have all the ideas. There may be even better ideas out there among their constituents. The leader that seeks the wisdom of the people in the system is indeed a wise one.

3. They learn and change - Leaders are agents of change. And all change starts with the man or woman in the mirror. The Self. A wise leader would take a long and honest look in the mirror. And resolve to make the necessary changes in himself.

So, if you are thinking about being a more effective leader at work or outside of work, remember:  

Leading is a verb.  

Terrence Seamon helps individuals and companies in their struggle with change. His company is Facilitation Solutions. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and connect with him on LinkedIn.


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