From a young age I was told I was a leader. I think my height lended a bit to that idea, as I towered over all of my classmates until some of the boys started hitting puberty in junior high.
At the age of seven and eight, the idea of being a leader meant being loud and in charge. I always shied away from being in front.
Surely I wasn’t a leader.
As I gained years, wisdom, and experience I learned that leadership is far more than being the loudest and pushing to the front of the group to decide what game is happening during recess.
A whole lot more.
Leadership is not child’s play. A true leader is humble and practices self-denial, gives his or her whole heart to matters at hand, and has a firm will to move important agendas forward without undue emotion.
A far cry from deciding between dodge ball and soccer.
Sadly, I observe many leaders haven’t graduated from recess.
Being the loudest and in charge by title or position simply makes someone a bully, not a leader.
The fact that we observe more bullies than leaders tells us it is easier to be a bully than a leader.
So how can you ensure you are a leader and not a bully?
Integrate these three leadership basics in everything you do and the bully inside will vanish:
Deny yourself: Request input, crave wise counsel, and make decisions based on what’s good for the team, not you.
Give yourself: If you’re not all in your team knows it and they won’t go all in either.
Know yourself: A firm will without explosive emotion is a complicated tapestry that never comes naturally. To anyone. This symmetrical balance only comes when expressed through values that go to your very core, that inform every decision made on this unknown path. Unless you know your core values, you cannot know yourself, and therefore you cannot be a true leader.