Lead Like You Should Love
One of my favorite books is “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. What Sinek illustrates in his book reminds me of how Paul discusses love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It’s a passage commonly read during wedding ceremonies, but I believe it applies well to true leadership also. True is the key word in “true leadership.” If you truly lead, it is one of the most service-oriented positions you could experience. It’s not easy to lead this way but it’s a simple concept: we should care about people. We should lead the way we love.
I am going to replace “love” in this passage with the words “true leadership” and break it down to illustrate what great leaders we would be if we used 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as our guide.
True leadership is patient, true leadership is kind.
Can you imagine having or being a leader that is patient and kind? Think of how approachable this leader would be. A subordinate who is trying to perform a complicated task would have much more success without the added stress of having an irritable and restless leader pressuring them. And guess who’s life is made easier and more successful when employees are performing optimally and with less angst? The patient, kind leader.
True leadership does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
A leader that does not jealously guard innovation or try to take credit for work that others have spent long, arduous hours completing is a leader that encourages others to thrive. It creates an environment of growth, where people feel comfortable bringing their ideas to the table to contribute to a common cause - the vision the leader has set before them. This is a leader with a team. This is a team that looks out for each other.
True leadership does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
I have a very specific example of this from my own experience. Prior to securing a permanent position in the fitness industry, I sold cars for a few years. It was an accelerated and fascinating education that was invaluable in some ways and heinous in others. Like every leader, my sales manager had his strong qualities and his weak qualities; but there is one gracious moment in particular that I will never forget.
He called me into his office to discuss a deal that was “squashing bugs” as we called it in the biz. That means the car was sold, papers were signed, and they had driven off the lot. In other words, it’s a done deal.
Honestly, the conversation is a bit of a self-deprecating blur but the short of it is that I had made a two thousand dollar mistake on a deal where we were already not making a profit. When I typed up the buyer’s order, I typed the sales price of the car for two thousand dollars less than we had agreed on selling. When this was brought to my attention, I was sure I was fired. As I awaited whatever disciplinary action was coming to me, my manager sympathetically said, “What’s two thousand dollars between friends?”
I was floored.
After that, I knew he was aware of my good character and that I would not make that mistake a second time. I felt relieved and had an eagerness to get back to work and be more productive because I felt my manager had my back.
True leadership does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
We have all been through bad leadership. As someone with an extensive sales background, I have been instructed to lie and cheat more times than I care to admit. I have discovered along the way that honesty and integrity sell way better than lying and cheating. A good leader will strive for conducting business honorably and as a result, this will create a stronger bond within the ranks.
True leadership always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. True leadership never fails…
A true leader will always take the responsibility of holding themselves accountable for the sake of the team. Leaders take the hit in support of others and set forth advancement into a new vision. There is no failure as long as there is growth and growth can be inspired by a great leader.