Friday, February 3, 2017

voices that demean leadership

In a recent conversation, the thought hit me that there are voices from one's past (and perhaps one's present) that keep people from being the type of leader they can or should be...or perhaps, keep them from ever seeking a leadership position at all.  These voices can come from many places and embed themselves deep into the psyche, impacting individuals for a short time or even for life.Considering the concept that leaders are taught, not made (remember that I do not believe that leaders are born that way), these type of voices have the power to keep people who have been placed into leadership positions to become the type of leader they need to be.  Worse yet, it keeps people with leadership-compatible gifts to ever step into a leadership role, depriving others of their gifts.

What are these voices?  Here are a few that I have been thinking about:

  • voices from parents: the parent who hates his or her boss will never speak well of management or those in leadership roles
  • voices from teachers: teachers often disparage those who serve in administrative or leadership roles
  • voices from parents and/or teachers: children often hear or feel they may never amount to anything based on feedback from those in authority over them
  • voices from the religious community: in many religious communities only males are allowed to hold the top leadership positions
  • voices from friends and colleagues: friends at work may disparage the boss, a role to which someone in the group might be aspiring
  • voices from the media: media focus their reporting on those leaders who are flawed or committed a heinous crime
These voices shape and mold people as they pursue their callings and vocations in life, often to the detriment of that individual.  Fortunately people have the ability, given the right inner drive and tools, to overcome those voices and pursue their path to leadership.  This begins with the willingness to find and hear those voices, examining them as right or not, and then working hard to overcome them.  This is not easy...this is not a quick fix...and this is not a one-time exercise.  Those in leadership roles (or seeking leadership roles) should regularly think about what voices from their past (or present) are keeping them from becoming the leader they wish to be, and replace those voices with voices that present a positive view of leadership and of themselves.  Not an easy job...and yet an important job if those in leadership roles are to lead well.

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