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Recently, I have grappled with these very questions as I transition into a world where rules don’t matter and egalitarians are chucked to the side for profit. No matter how difficult university may have seemed, when you take off those training wheels you’re eventually going to fall. Slowly you will be damaged with too many war wounds and your dream of becoming someone sitting at the top will be replaced with the stark reality of a nine to six job.
Society continually propagates the myth that it only takes one person to make a difference, one leader that will stand up to take charge and lead their followers to greener pastures. You hear these stories of great men and women who stood up for their rights who fought and struggled to give us a better world but have you ever heard of the man who failed? The man who tried to stand up and got shot down? The man who wanted to make a difference but couldn’t?
Like any other situation there are winners and losers in the game of life. Everyone can be given a golden ticket but there are only a few that can survive through the ride.
If we take the concept of power like Napoleon Bonaparte did we would view it as a way to get a task done by any means necessary. Ruling with an iron fist you would have no problems with hiring, firing or cutting down on cost to defend your organisation or help it grow. If your management is by power, your going to end up with employees starting a revolution against you or leaving for another boss.
So let’s take a look at authority. When a police officer comes up to you and instructs you to get out of your car your most likely to comply. Why? Because he has the authority to do so and the consequences of not doing it are grave. Similarly your boss has the authority to tell you what to do without rhyme or reason, no matter how senseless it might seem. Why? Because he can fire your ass and he has the authority to do so. If you lead with authority you’re going to end up with a bunch of employees with pitchforks and knives waiting to stab the minute you turn around.
Let’s try influence. Influence is about having an impact on someone’s character, their development and the way they think. Unfortunately trying to influence someone is no easy task, unless you want to become a hypnotist or holy man connected to a higher power. If you want to
lead with influence you’re going to need a few years, a couple of hypnotist and a few meditation sessions.
Being a leader isn’t just ruling over a group of people. It’s not about sitting at a desk instructing a bunch of guinea pigs to run. It’s not about slicing or chopping off anyone’s hand because they didn’t follow an instruction.
Someone very special showed me that being a leader is about serving your people, it’s about taking the blame when they can’t handle the shit, it’s about finding a solution to get them out of a mess, and it’s about never giving up on that vision . A great leader isn’t short sighted they don’t just look at the bottom line but the horizon. They shape the future not just for themselves but to maximize the potential of all their people.