The Essentials to Being a Transformational Leader
Leadership is not a trait some people are born with while others are not. It is not a title or position. It is certainly not climbing the corporate ladder or achieving a six-figure salary. It is sometimes the quietest, the youngest, or the most inexperienced person in the room. It happens in the office, in the home, and even on the playground.
Leadership is a selfless act that costs you something personally as you seek the betterment of those around you. It is so profoundly simple that even a child can do it, yet not easy enough to guarantee we can successfully live it out in every moment. It often requires making difficult decisions and not always being the favorite. But leadership, defined in this way, is also the most rewarding and fulfilling experience out there.
With the end goal of fulfillment already defined, the rest of our definition of leadership, can be broken down into two parts—love and service. While they go hand-in-hand it is important to mention the differences.
Love is all about self-sacrifice for the benefit of another person. Love is choosing someone’s needs above your own. We want to love the people we are serving because there will be times when crisis arises and you will have to choose between what you want and what your people want. You will have to love your people enough to be willing to die to yourself so that your people have a chance at fulfillment. When 42 year old Tom Brady throws himself for a block, he is sacrificing his body for his team to be able to gain a few extra yards. He is the quarterback, he doesn’t have to do that, but he chooses to because he loves the game and his teammates. Love requires sacrifice.
Service is looking out for someone else’s needs.This requires you to first identify what those needs are and then meet those needs. It is the mindset of “what can I do for you today so that you will be better tomorrow? It is putting others’ needs above your own. When the quarterback runs off the field and gets his teammates cups of water before he gets one himself, he is serving the needs of his teammates before his own. It is doing the grunt work so that others can have a path towards fulfillment.
This is why it is so important to have both—love and service. Without love, your service will be shallow. Without service, your love will be stagnant. As leaders we need to believe in our people enough to be willing to love and serve them at all costs.