Last week I Tweeted “Leadership: getting others to fear you is easy, if not lazy. Getting people to like you and inspiring them to follow is truly remarkable”.
When we think of leaders, we think of someone strong, decisive, disciplined and able compel others to follow. But all too often, people are in a position of leadership merely because they’ve become skilled at controlling others through fear tactics.
There is a big difference between being a dictator and being a great leader. It’s easy to act out of fear or anger, make demands, be disrespectful and to treat others as if they are inferior. This is the characteristic of the weak and undisciplined. This is the way of the dictator.
True leadership requires someone to truly know the people and understand both their potential and their struggles. It requires a leader to exhibit copious amounts of patience. You must be a peace with the process of the journey. You must be a dedicated problem solver and resilient to abuse and rejection. Leadership isn’t easy; it’s worthy.
When someone makes you angry, it’s easy to just react, rather than to act deliberately. Acting deliberately requires self-control and resilience.
Someone that demands obedience and controls others through fear is a weak. Their fight is for their own gain, rather than those they lead. Someone willing to exhibit patience and endure the struggle to come to a peaceful and mutually beneficial conclusion is an example of true leadership.
It’s rare to find a leader with the patience of Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa. They did not think or act in short term or self-serving solutions. They made daily, sacrificial, deliberate installments towards long term peace. In fact, many people condemned and persecuted them for their methodologies due to their lack of short-term results.
The best leaders are those that earned their way into leadership by being the most dedicated servants. And they continue to earn it every day. They never have to demand obedience. They simply lead by example to the extent that those around them are inspired to follow.
The purpose of leadership is to inspire, guide, discover, create and foster peace. It’s impossible to achieve these goals as a dictator. To be a true leader, one must, at their core, be a dedicated servant. From there you will find the wisdom to lead those inspired to follow you.