Thursday, April 16, 2015

Leader of the whatever

The saying goes something like, 'There are those who seek out leadership and there are those it is thrust upon.'
The first category draws the power hungry and the glory seekers, despite the fact that these people are not very good at leading others. We've all run into the incompetent fools and wonder how the hell did they get there? There must of been some quality in the character makeup that said; 'this person can lead others and get results.'
I've seen plenty of those people. Every job I've ever worked has had at least one person who couldn't lead a flock of lemmings. The job manager title (and corresponding pay.) us what attracts them. Never mind that they're actually no good at it. Politicians fall into this category exclusively.
In my travels I have met people who lead and they are actually suited to it. Store manager, office manager, construction manager, kitchen manager. They all had one thing in common: they were running the show for someone else. Also, it came as no surprise that many of these people struck out on their own.
One fellow I knew ran a department in our store without actually being promoted to the department manager position. He became dissatisfied, justifiably so, that he was doing the work and not getting the pay/promotion/appreciation. He's now restoring classic cars and running his own shop in South Carolina. He came back into town and visited us schleps in the garden center. After the bro hugs and back slaps, he told me that he works half the week, shops the auto auctions for things to restore and generally enjoys himself.
The view does change when you are the lead dog.

Now the people with leadership thrust upon them, and I definitely identify with this category, are a lot more common than you think.
These are the people who don't panic in stressful situations. Yes, we get scared, but we have to a certain extent mastered our fear. The firefighter who runs into a burning building. The policeman who faces death and danger. You can only train for that to a certain extent. A lot of that has to come from inside, from who you are and the makeup of your character.
When the chips are down, who is the person you turn to? Who's your go-to person? Who's the person who can get things done? 
Those people fit my definition of a leader. They don't do it for power or the prestige. Most of us couldn't care less how many initials come after their name.
It's called respect and it is earned in deeds, leading from the front by example. 

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