The Leaders Call 1: Setting the Agenda

There is a significant difference between people who lead and leaders. There is an even more profound difference between people who are appointed to manage others and those that are called to lead. The Leaders Edge seeks to speak to the leader in every one of us, wanting to encourage and challenge, inspire and confront.

“To realise the call to leadership, we must heed the call to legend.” The thing that is missing from leadership in the early 21st Century is legend. The action and meaning of this word are unknown and unexplored. How is legend different from “good” management, from well accepted management theories – the difference is called g-u-t-s. Not only the ability but also the willingness (even this is not strong enough), the drive to risk, to step out of the bounds of conformity and really make a difference. This is what legend means. Legends are people who act so daringly that they become bigger than life. Why is this a good thing for leaders. Because leaders, true leaders continually stretch the meaning of the concept of the leader. They live beyond the “container” commonly referred to as leadership. In this form of leadership there is an element, a large portion, of the irrational, the exuberant, the inspirational and the inexplicable. Leaders who practice this form of leadership, “legendship”, who do the unusual and the unexpected, give themselves a wider platform on which to operate. Those they lead expect them to be comfortable with risk. This type of leader is trusted with risk – yes trusted with risk. Ask any person what they want from leaders, they want to be led by people they can trust. Leaders practicing “legendship” are not only trusted with the ordinary, the common practices of management – they are trusted with the very element that sets their leadership apart from the rest – g-u-t-s, risk, courage. Because of this level of trust those being led are given permission to think outside of the box, beyond the 9 dots, and they too elevate themselves to a new level of personal leadership. “Legendship” is, in this way, empowering.

Answering the call: Some first steps legend-leaders are willing to take, they:

  • Are unafraid to risk reputation
  • Stop worrying about criticism
  • Begin to do things (anything) that fit into no known category
  • Give themselves latitude – don’t box themselves in
  • Start to play on a bigger playing field
  • Begin to think they can (and will) triumph
  • Experience a kind of leadership that turns people at the top into heroes!

Heroes challenge the rational. Legends reach into the realm of the heroic. Heroes;

  • Test themselves continuously
  • Dare to look ridiculous
  • Put themselves into unfamiliar territory

    The Leaders Call - which way will you choose??

    The Leaders Call - which way will you choose??

  • Risk their identity
  • Come back from an ordeal or failure with another lesson learnt
  • Go on a personal journey that makes them more whole What then must we do?

In leadership today we must realise that having a personal skill or ability is simply not enough. It is not enough to sit back and wait for the “appointment to leadership”. Someone once challenged me when I was in a position to take over leadership from them – they said simply, “act like a leader and you will soon be recognised as one”. This challenge did not mean that I undermined their leadership, it gave me permission, it expressed trust in my ability and cemented my trust in their ability to lead. And what is leadership if there is no-one to lead, leadership depends on others willingness to be led – this trust is the basis for leadership.

It is, in the face of a challenge, the leaders willingness, supported by the trust of “their people” to take the risk that separates a legend-leader from the pack. In today’s business climate littered with obstacles and challenges something BIG is called for, something irrational, something extraordinary – who will answer the call to legend-leadership (it is in all of us) and move ahead, showing the way forward.

Leaders are practical – they do stuff. I try to do this stuff through my company Corporate Intiaitives Inc. You can contact me on roger@hitchcock.com.

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