5 Things a Leader Should Always Remember
When I was a little girl I used to love blowing dandelions when they had turned white and fluffy. It was fun to watch the little seeds be propelled by me blowing on them and then watching them be caught by the wind in carried off. I remember one time I was enjoying this activity when and an adult told me to "Stop doing that, don't you know you will just spread them even more!" I was kind of stunned at their reaction. I thought more of these would be quite nice but after that time, I was more cautious about when and where I enjoyed this activity. I made sure I was in a field where it would not matter if there were more of them. I made sure I wasn't standing on someone's lawn.
The fascination of watching the effect I had on the dandelion puff and knowing it would aid in creating other dandelions was a memorable summertime activity. Following the seeds, as they took flight on the breeze and traveled in different directions was the highlight.
Through a simple act of blowing on this tenacious little flower other dandelions are created. A good leader's actions should be similar. A goal of leadership should be to create other leaders. Many times those in leadership feel it is their goal to keep good employees under their watchful eye and not encouraged them to go forward and become leaders as well. A good leader should not fear other leaders growing among their group. They should encourage it!
In today's world, leadership is a much-used term. There is a need for strong, good, and able leaders throughout the business world, politics, and other aspects of life. The shortage in these kinds of leaders is more due to fear and selfishness from some leaders in their pursuit to build their own kingdom instead of developing other kingdoms. The word develop means to, "grow or cause to grow and become mature, advanced, or elaborate." The world needs leaders that develop other leaders. The world needs leaders that will blow encouragement, training, and experience across others so they can become leaders as well. Leadership is about giving to others and their community and creating other leaders. These new leaders are not clones of the original leader, but leaders with their own special talents that are able to carry their skills to new places, bloom where they are planted, and then breathe the breath of leadership across others.
Sometimes the simple activities of blowing across a flower puff can help create life in a new location, the breath of great leadership should do the same.
Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. - George S. Patton
I have always appreciated this quote. It falls into line with part of my thoughts on leadership. In my previous roles as a manager or supervisor this was something I often considered when determining when to involve myself and when to let go. The issue is sometimes leadership quotes, while seemingly good most of the time are not always right. It is in knowing how to assess a situation and determine the right course of action that often makes the difference in successful leadership and just being in charge.
I learned early on as a parent and a leader in my home that sometimes the best ideas on leadership need to be evaluated when dealing with children. If you truly want to know what kind of leadership style you possess go and work with children for a few days. It is one of the surest ways to know if you are truly a leader or just someone who thinks they are in charge.
I have often thought of the quote of above when remembering a time when I asked my 3 oldest children to clean their bathroom. They were roughly at the ages of four, seven, and ten. I explained I wanted the bathroom straightened up and then told the older two to use a cleaning product to wipe down the surfaces and they needed to mop the floor. I told them I would be back up to check in about 45 minutes. Twenty minutes into their assignment I heard several loud noises that sounded like someone falling. I yelled upstairs, "Is everyone ok?" To which they responded, "Yes!" Another ten minutes went by and I continued to hear a thud ever so often. I decided to go and check and see what was happening. Upon opening the bathroom door, I discovered they were cleaning the bathroom floor by putting liquid soap on it and using the floor as a skating rink. They thought they were ingenious, I was questioning their sanity. As you can imagine, getting liquid hand soap off a linoleum floor is quite the job.
There were three takeaways I learned that day:
I often smile when I come across General Patton's quote. It reminds me, not only of the day of skating in liquid soap but also reminds me sometimes I need to provide parameters and step back and sometimes I need to be more involved. Leadership principles and ideas should guide and direct and provide a foundation to operate from but in the end, it is knowing which ones to use and when that distinguishes the successful leader.