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Blog

What Is Leadership

Alan Andersen

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While we have already shared our working definition of leadership, we want to zoom out and look at the big picture of leadership. You might ask why and here’s the truth.

We are seeing more and more leaders (and would-be leaders) look at leadership all wrong.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the reality of being a leader. Therefore, let’s look at the two major factors for practicing healthy leadership, namely, Attitude AND Action.

Attitude

Ever taken an inkblot evaluation (formally called the "Rorschach" test)? If we had more time, I would take us through a variation of the inkblot test with an emphasis on leadership. The truth is that healthy leadership is MORE about…

  • Accountability not Accolades

  • Responsibility not Rewards

  • Patience not Instant Gratification

  • Persistence not Give-In

  • Tenacity not Slacking

At the end of the day, healthy leaders are focused on serving others to the very best of their aptitude and ability with a happy, humble ATTITUDE. Healthy leaders are not primarily focused on about being served themselves.

Action

Now, let’s look at the other side of this metaphorical coin. Using a simple but practical analogy, consider the contrast between two characters. In fact, these two characters are doctors. They are experts in their field and let’s imagine their next appointment is to give their respective patient an annual check up but here’s the twist…

Doctor 1 Doctor 2

Scenario A

Doctor 1 is all about getting you in and out in the quickest, most helpful manner possible. So the visit goes something like this, after waiting a few moments in the back room. Doctor 1 arrives, cordially greets the patient and commences with the physical.

A short time passes, Doctor 1 clearly begins to wrap up and share something to the affect of “continue with your regular exercise, eating healthy, and don’t drink more than a few alcoholic drink beverages per weeks. See you next year.”

All in all, not bad. You got what you came for. Either a clean bill of health or progress steps to pursue health.

Scenario B

Doctor 2 is equally all about getting the patient in and out in the quickest, most helpful manner possible. Instead though, as soon as he arrives, he verbally sets expectations for the duration of the physical and begins to verbalize EVERYTHING that they are doing.

For instance, they say, “I’m taking my hand and running it from the top of the thigh to the bottom of the knee. Then I’ll use my reflex hammer to assess each leg’s reflexes. Then I’ll monitor blood pressure and we’ll verify stress level too.”

Do you see what is happening in this second scenario? Is Doctor 2 more competent than Doctor 1? Negative!

Doctor 2 is simply verbally communicating what is going on to minimize guesswork and dispel fear. In other words, while Doctor 2 is not necessarily a “better” physician than Doctor 2. The patient feels more in control and subsequently more bought in to getting things done!

A Winning Recipe

I’ll drive this point home. Can you tell the subtle but clear differences between scenario A and B? I’ll bet you can.

As a healthy leader that is focused on embracing responsibility versus looking for a reward. He or she also exercises the muscle of verbally, proactively communicating what they’re doing in order to make the people in their sphere of relationship feel comfortable.

Great leaders eliminate guess work and increase trust with everyone in their reach. This is not through rocket science, but simple, proactive communication that expresses their observations, expectations, and intended results.

Now let’s get out there and build our muscle in these two areas. Practice having a great attitude and communicating proactively discuss in order to keep others in the loop and bolstering trust.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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