The Alphabet of Leadership

ABCI mentioned in a previous post, once, that leaders often make the mistake of preaching the need to go from A to Z without first showing people how to go from A to B. It’s a little like promoting the wonders of integral calculus to a child to inspire them to learn their multiplication tables, or like playing a classical concert piece to motivate a grade 1 piano student. Finding where a person is really at and inspiring them to go a step further and then explaining how this can be done is the essence of good leadership.

Many leaders become too intense with their own convictions and abilities, despite these often having grown over time. Rather than inspire people, they demotivate them by communicating that the high jump bar is out of reach or that the attempts at a lower jump are somehow inadequate, even though most jumpers work up to great heights gradually.

The desire for achievement and growth often depends on the attitude of the leader in the early stages. Leaders may need to show someone how to go from B to C and C to D as well, before they will develop the inherent drive or the capacity to then grow quickly after that. It’s a little like the need to feed a baby with persistence and encouragement before the baby one day becomes able to feed itself and grow. A parent doesn’t give up on a screaming baby, but recognises the need and addresses it as an act of love filled with great hope for the future.

Who can you lead in small, deliberate and encouraging steps today? Loving them enough to believe in their future will communicate prophetic hope in preference to dispiriting frustration, but it needs to be accompanied by the sort of purposeful action that is more about where they are at than where you are.

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