Imagine, if you will, a sunny, warm summer’s day. There is a carpet of green grass as far as the eye can see, when, all of a sudden a spaceship hovers above and lands in front of you. As it descends, there is a cloud of steam that appears and soon thereafter a hatch opens and you are the first on Earth to make contact with a life form from another planet.
The first words uttered by this alien is: “Take me to your leader.” You stand their completely mystified and confused. The alien again utters: “Take me to your leader.” Again, you are confused.
The reason for your confusion is not the fact to you are talking to an alien life form, but in the request. You are not sure where to take the alien.
We all know the difference between managers and leaders, heaven knows there has been enough written about it. However, today there seems to be a void as to what a leader is and even who it is.
Last weekend I went to an event called GROW (Greatness Resides and Originates Within) and one of the keynote speakers, Tom Jones, no, not that Tom Jones, talked to us about the leadership void and the fact that leadership is thoroughly lacking in the society of today.
Certainly there are leaders that are appointed and have a title such as President, Prime Minister, Premier, Mayor, Congressman, Congresswoman, Chief, but are they the leaders which we would like to take our visitor to? Putting political affiliations aside and looking at it subjectively I am sure the majority may say: “Well, not really.”
One of my favourite speakers and author, Simon Sinek, a leader in his own right, states in his book ‘Start with the Why’ “There are leaders and there are those that lead.”
You can see why confronted with our alien, we may be confused as to whom we will introduce to him.
Reading the great thought leaders of the day such as, Brian Tracy, John Maxwell, Jim Collins and a multitude of others it always comes out that being a leader is so much more than having the moniker. Being a leader is normally easy, but being those that lead takes work as they inspire people to follow them. The amusing part of all this is in most organizations the one that has the leadership title rarely has followers whereas one that inspires others has the followers, but not the title. More importantly, the latter does not care about the title.
Another amusing facet of not only the GROW event, but also Sinek and the other authors mentioned, I am currently writing my first book with the working title of: ‘Where Have All the Leaders Gone?’ Funny how timing works.
We can all learn to lead, we just need to be open to it and to take the responsibility for it. Maybe that is why today there is a leadership void, the majority of people do not want to be held responsible.
Therefore, if you are that individual on the bright sunny day and the spaceship occupant makes contact with you, who are you taking him to see?