Leadership is always about doing something that is worth repeating. The leader is the decision maker among a group of friends when deciding on a place to eat. They are the one that you turn to to get information, understand a plan, request support, and help find motivation. They are the one that you believe in and will follow without the knowledge of where it is they are going.
In organizations, leadership is part of being a project leader, a supervisor, a manager, director, scoutmaster, and point of contact, but is not the same as having these titles. There are many people who hold these titles that are not leaders and many others who are leaders and don't have a title. However, we turn to the people holding these titles to shine their light on our initiatives; we turn to them for leadership.
For the next few moments, please ignore your traditional opinion of the title of "Leader" and instead consider a few different things. Who among your friends or within your organization do people turn to for questions or clarification by their own choosing? It's is important to consider the person that others choose to go to. Since you have ignored your traditional opinion of a titled leader, I can also ask you to think of a person that others go to to complain, spread gossip, and share secrets. Finally, I ask you to associate the qualities of a leader above to the individual who is "spreading the disease." It is vitally important to be a stronger positive leader than the negative leaders in your circle. I'm certainly not suggesting that they be ignored, but rather recognized as a leader. Engage them in the decision making process. They have leadership qualities and should be utilized in a manner that will produce a positive outcome. This will also help in ensuring that others that are seeking guidance from these individuals are getting the information you want them to get.
One of the single largest challenges among a peer group with no titled leaders such as volunteer work is decision making when there is no titled leader. A similar challenge is faced when people with titles are not leaders. This, to me, is and easy challenge to overcome. When you've identified a lack of leaderhip, lead. Step up and be the leader. This does not mean you have to make every decision, but the the person people turn to for guidance. The best example I can share is the trivial decisions within a relationship that can crush the trust.
"What do you want for dinner?", she asks.
"I don't care.", he replies
She then, makes a decision and he doesn't like what she has made. Reflecting on the situation, as readers of this blog, it's easy to see a resolution, but when we're in these situations, they can become volitile in an instant. Let me present the same situation with a positive outcome. It starts with the willingness to self-sacrifice.
"What do you want for dinner?", she asks
"I don't know what I want right now. What are my options?"
He now must either make a decision or turn the decision back to her by offering new options.
Option 1 - "I really like the way you make _____. Let's have that."
Option 2 - "How about I take you out tonight? Can I take you to _____?"
Ultimately, somebody needs to make a decision. If the decision maker today doesn't like making decision on what to eat for dinner, try making a decision anyway. The next time she asks, prepare for self-sacrifice and turn the decision back to her by saying, "Honey, I picked last time, why don't you pick tonight? Whatever you want to make will be great, then I'll pick again next time."
Great leadership produces great results, regardless of the decision being made. A great leader who provides information, a plan, motivation, and support is nearly unstoppable. That is why "Leadership" is the fifth water of success. Without which, the initiative will fail or at least be very painful.
How much water do you have?