When I was invited to speak at the Real Leaders magazine launch last September, I was asked to share my thoughts on leadership. I wondered what I could say about real leaders that was fresh, inspirational and personal.
I hiked up Hawksbill Mountain in the Blue Ridge the day before the launch so I could clear my head and think about these questions.
The connection I made at the launch was that leadership is like climbing a mountain. You don’t climb alone and must depend on your partner or team to get to the summit. You understand their struggle and they yours. Their success is your success. Leadership is not easy, and the hardest piece of it is compassion. If a member of your team slips and falls on the way, you have to stop, and you may not reach the summit as quickly as you’d like. Compassion builds trust and a strong team.
Manley Hopkinson, the author of Compassionate Leadership, said that leadership is less about telling people what to do and more about forming a relationship with them, so they motivate themselves to do what is required. The heart of the approach is “understanding yourself.” Once you have a true understanding of yourself, you understand others better and can create more effective businesses and relationships.
Leaders exist everywhere – each of us has something we’re passionate about and can act on. And we must act now to create the change in the world we wish to see. The costs of inaction are too high.
Real Leaders magazine hit the newsstands recently and has a list of the “Top 100 Visionary Leaders for 2018” who are changing the world. I’m honored to be included there.