In order to join her husband in the US, a friend of my relocated here a few years ago from Nigeria. After she’d been in the country a couple of months on the evening of October 31st, her doorbell rang. She was surprised to find children dressed up as characters she did not recognize or understand. Imagine her shock when they demanded candy. Her puzzled look and frozen stance must have given away the fact that she didn’t have any idea what was happening. Still they insisted on candy. She flew to the kitchen and rummaged around until she found a few treats to give them. All the while, wondering why she was desperately in search of sweet treats to give to oddly dressed strangers at her door. Three years later, she laughs about how Halloween took her by surprise.
This might be an unusual phenomenon on Halloween but fairly typical in our day to day. Our teams, employees, children, volunteers often do not understand why they are desperately running around fulfilling our request when they have no understanding of what is really going on.
To make a greater difference in the lives of those we lead and experience more significance as we do it stop asking yourself, “How can I lead better?” Instead ask, “Why do I lead in the first place?” Leaders are called to develop people. There is nothing sweeter then investing in the lives of others and watching them grow as a result. Effective leadership is all about taking people on a journey that enables them to experience more as a result of what you bring to them.
When we understand our role is to invest in people, there is less chance that they operate in the dark; less likelihood that they are just following orders, and more opportunity for them to contribute to the bigger picture; less moments of desperately and begrudgingly fulfilling the request, and more understanding of how the request fits into the larger story. The impact of true leadership reaches beyond the project, job, task into individuals’ lives. When teams, communities, families, employees become more, they are right in the middle of the journey they want to be on.
How are you adding value to the people in your community, family, team or business?