Leadership is Not for Wimps

by Karen Porter in Leading Hearts Magazine

Leadership is not for wimps.

Nor for anyone who is trying to make a name for herself or make a fortune. Instead, being a leader involves serving and nudging others to do their best.

My husband and I own a group of small businesses.

We work hard, and we try to incorporate the qualities of a good leader as we work with our employees, associates and the freelancers we hire.

Recently, he and I began attending a mastermind group composed of other small business owners. The meetings are stunning and mind-opening. After each meeting, we are encouraged and challenged to integrate better leadership into our day-to-day work.

Each business person in our mastermind group owns a business extremely different from the other businesses. We work in areas related to writing, speaking and publishing, but the other owners have businesses that range from sales, service, environmental management, logistics and the custom rebuilding of high-end collector cars and boats. What a mix!

Yet we found common ground because (1) we are all believers and follow Jesus with all our hearts while we are running our businesses, and (2) we all want to be better leaders.

What I’ve learned in these meetings has surprised and confronted me.

I thought I knew a lot about leadership because I have led for years, and I’ve read many books on the topic.

Some of what I learned in our group sent me back to the basics, and some of these new skills have taken me to a new level of thinking.

For example, I know communication is important, but one member of our group told us how he intentionally schedules phone calls to employees each month. These calls are less about the employee’s job performance and more about the person’s life.

I realized that I almost always communicate with remote employees and freelancers by email and almost always about business. The next day I called a person who is a strategic part of our team and simply talked. Now I understand why this kind of communication is so valuable — for the employee and for me.

Another example is how we can redefine our image of a successful leader and take our leadership to a new level as we follow Jesus.

Let’s look at some of those traits and attitudes we should redefine. I’ll start with some characteristics that are strong in my life.

First. I am a hard worker.

I’m not sure if I inherited a hard-work DNA marker from my industrious father or if by the bent of personality, I am a worker bee. I love work. It satisfies me, and I love the feeling of a job is well done. I’ve considered this worker trait to be an asset, and if I’m honest and truthful, I admit a source of pride.

But through the conversations in our mastermind group, I discovered that the opposite of a hard worker isn’t lazy as I thought — the opposite is availability.

Do I work so hard that I am unavailable?

As leaders we must redefine our leadership by asking the question: Am I considered a hard worker or am I considered available?

Second. I would like for our businesses to be profitable.

Of course, I do. And I’m sure you want to be financially successful and responsible too, whether you are working for profit or managing a budget. When I consider the opposite of making money, my internal antonym is “poor.” But in God’s economy and in the realm of good leadership, the opposite of getting rich is being generous. Why do I want to have money? Is the answer that I want what money can buy or because I want to be a generous giver?

Now it’s your turn to redefine successful leadership.

Try your hand at the list below. I would love to hear your answers in the exercise below. Email me at kaeporter@gmail.com. 

And remember, this kind of leadership is not for wimps!

We think leadership is vs God’s definition:

Hard Work ____________

Availability ____________

Rich ____________

Generous ____________

Capable ____________

Smart ____________

Celebrated ____________

Powerful ____________

Ambitious ____________

Popular ____________

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