There’s an awful lot written and spoken about leadership. It comes in varying colours, shades and guises. Most of what is written is about the value and impact of differing leadership styles and approaches – how to lead.
Some of it may personally appeal and some of it may not.
Some of it may actually help you lead well and some of it may not.
Some of it may be based on genuinely useful evidence and some of it may not.
Our ongoing leadership journey is most often focussed on working out what works for us and what does not. Put simply, how we can lead most effectively. All that is guaranteed is that leadership is situational, contextual, relational and personal. Within those dimensions we each have to explore what works well for us and what does not.
So how you lead is your ultimately choice. It’s why some leadership literature will resonate and others will not at any given time. It’s also why some leaders will resonate and others will not at any given time.
However, for any leader there is a question that must always come alongside the “how”. It’s a question that seems to be so simple that it is assumed rather than constantly used to guide. The question is simply…
Are you leading?
Active leadership is the ongoing process of taking people to places they wouldn’t necessarily go, in a way that is both purposeful and meaningful, to create value that can’t be created in any other way.
To ask ourselves “Are we leading?” demands clarity on these very fundamental questions of our own leadership…
Where are we taking people, both in intent and in reality, and what does that achieve?
What stops people from going there of their own accord?
What better way(s) other than our leadership could achieve the same end?
What purpose and meaning are we creating with our leadership?
What does our ongoing leadership process look like?
What value does our leadership create?
All fundamental questions and I’d say as valuable to an experienced leader as someone aspiring to lead. If we can’t answer these questions usefully then perhaps the question of how we want to lead is actually redundant. So…
Are you leading?