I went on a search to become a leader.
I searched high and low. I spoke with authority, and people listened, but alas, there was one who was wiser than I, and they followed him.
I sought to inspire confidence, but the crowd responded, “Why should we trust you?”
I postured and assumed the look of leadership with a countenance that glowed with confidence and pride. But many passed me by and never noticed my air of elegance.
I ran ahead of the others, pointing the way to new heights. I demonstrated that I knew the route to greatness. And then I looked back, and I was alone.
What shall I do, I queried? I’ve tried hard and used all that I know.
And I sat me down and I pondered long.
And then I listened to the voices around me. I heard what the group was trying to accomplish.
I rolled up my sleeves and joined in the work.
As we worked together I asked, “Are we all together in what we want to do and how to get the job done?” And we thought together and we fought together and we struggled toward our goal. I found myself encouraging the fainthearted. I sought the ideas of those who were too shy to speak out. I taught those who had little skill. I praised those who worked hard.
When our task was completed, one of the groups turned to me and said, “This would not have been done, but for your leadership.” At first I said, “I didn’t lead, I just walked with the rest.”
And then I understood: Leadership is not a goal. It’s a way of reaching a goal.
I lead best when I help others to go where we’ve decided we want to go.
I lead best when I help others to use themselves creatively.
I lead best when I forget about myself as a leader and focus on my group, their needs, and their goals.
To lead is to serve, to give and to achieve TOGETHER.