Leadership Styles – Deciding to Become a Leader
Ask a leader when they first figured out when they wanted to become a leader and the answer might surprise you.
Some leaders never decide to become a leader. Life just seems to bring people around them to lead. You knew people like this in high school. They often led groups of people who drawn to them based on looks, athletic ability or a certain charisma.
At your ten-year high school reunion, I bet you were thinking many of these kids would be leaders of adults. Unfortunately for some of these folks, their leadership in high school was based on popularity and it peaked during those years.
Potential leaders will often find out that being popular isn’t a guaranteed result of leadership. So then why decide to become a leader?
Is It Really Lonely At the Top?
Leadership is not for everyone. Sure it seems like it comes with perks and glamour, but leaders have responsibility on their shoulders 24/7. The leader doesn’t get to turn the machine off and go home, forgetting about work until the next work day.
President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The buck stops here.” (The saying “the buck stops here” derives from the slang expression “pass the buck” which means passing the responsibility on to someone else.)
According to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, “On more than one occasion President Truman referred to the desk sign in public statements. For example, in an address at the National War College on December 19, 1952 Mr. Truman said, “You know, it’s easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done, after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you — and on my desk I have a motto which says The Buck Stops Here’ — the decision has to be made.”
Isn’t it interesting the leader of the free world uses a football coach in his own leadership analogy? He could have used a store manager, a police captain or a bank president and the result would have been the same; the buck stops with the leader. So many of us have witnessed what we think is a poor decision made by a team coach and we can relate to the tough decisions a coach makes, albeit wrong ones. However put yourself on that field in front of thousands of fans and see how you do.
Making tough decisions is the hardest part of being a leader. When it comes to deciding whether you want to become a leader, you have to access whether you want to make decisions. If you want to be a really good leader you will have to make decisions constantly and those decisions will not always be popular. And this is where the notion that it is lonely at the top probably derived. It can get lonely while you are making a tough decision.
Deciding to Make a Difference
Leadership has so many rewards and most of them come from the most unexpected places. I am always stunned when a member of my team stops me and tells me that I said or did something that had a lasting effect on them. I get embarrassed and humbled when, on the drive home after a work event, my wife tells me how proud she is of me. She has often shared a candid moment that she had with a member of my team who says something positive about my leadership style.
You might read that previous paragraph and think that I am an egotistical bonehead. If you did, you missed the point. You see it is during the moments I mentioned above that I get to see the difference I am making as a leader. As I go busily through my days, I don’t always stop and see how my leadership affects each person. I have mountains to move and mole hills to stomp on. I have a certain leadership style that has derived from observing my mentors, gaining experience, reading and even being raised by my parents.
When an individual makes me stop and see that I made a difference in their life, every sleepless night that can come with leadership is worth it. I am a leader to make a difference. I am not a leader because I want to be popular. I left that back in high school.
Leadership Styles – It Started in Preschool
First decide to become a leader. After that, developing your leadership style becomes a fun adventure if you are willing to do the work.
Your leadership style has already taken form. It is already there ready to be discovered. Like a bunch of timber before it becomes a house, your leadership style has to be planned and assembled. The making of your leadership style started that first day of preschool when you joined that group of kids in the classroom. From that point until today your interactions have formed your leadership style.
Decide now. Do you want to be a leader?
If you are a leader, do you want to be a great leader by discovering your unique style?
Think this through and I will check back.
Do you agree with my assertion that making decisions is the hardest part of leadership? Why do you agree or disagree? Please comment below.
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