In my 40-something years on this earth, I’ve been exposed to my fair share of leaders. Some have been exemplary in every way, and some, in my humble opinion, should never have assumed, much less have been given, the title of a leader.
To be a leader is to receive an extremely high calling. To have people “follow” you means they are trusting you to show them the way that is best. As you go, often they go. If you are arrogant, rude or condescending, most likely the people who connect with you and get on “your team” are like that or will take on that same demeanor.
Whatever you plant in the field of your leadership, you will harvest in abundance. If you plant a big ego, you will harvest big egos. If you plant strength through kindness and humility, the people who surround you will exude much the same.
You can tell the quality of leader by the type of people who choose to follow him or her.
I get in different Facebook groups and I am honestly appalled at how some people promote themselves, but even more so how people talk to each other. And many of these people are supposedly “leaders.” Where has the respect for others gone? It’s as if hiding behind a phone or computer gives someone permission to be rude, mean and offensive. Or, when highlighting one company they’ve bought into and have chosen to “follow,” they feel the need to insert negativity about a competitor of that company.
What would the world look like if we stopped behaving like this? If the great leaders stood up and said, “No more. That’s not welcome here.” A little closer to home, what would the CrossFit industry look like if we all treated each other with genuine deference and respect?
As I was thinking about writing this article, my initial thought was to title it “9 Signs that You’re a Terrible Leader” but there’s so much negativity in this world these days, I wanted this to be positive.
So I thought about the leaders who I admire.
Many of our clients came to mind. All of my 321GoProject team members came to mind. A couple of my family members immediately came to mind. My partner came to mind.
I want to write this article about them. The great leaders. Certainly not perfect by any stretch — and they’d be the first to admit that, which makes them great in my opinion — but just really inspiring. The list that follows are a few characteristics they all have in common:
And one final quality I admire…
I’ve been fortunate to have been in many leadership positions in my life, and I will be the first to admit, I’ve made a shit ton of mistakes in those roles. I’m nowhere closer to where I want to be as a leader, but each day I am learning how to improve by observing everyone around me that I can. I want to embrace the characteristics that are good and right and true, and be more aware every day of quickly eliminating the negative.
We are afforded one shot at this thing called life. If you are in a leadership position, it would serve you well to take inventory of your leadership qualities and ask if you’re one of the great leaders. Most people just take life as it comes to them. The great, inspiring leaders get better every day. My challenge to you — and myself — is to make it your personal mission to live every single day with intentionality and purpose so that those people who are looking to you for direction become their best selves.