A usual day at work ends with me navigating Midtown foot traffic on the way to the train. I get to live out my organized football dreams as I dodge and swim by hapless tourists and totally zoned out office dwellers. During the time , I either listen to music or my mind drifts elsewhere. These thoughts are usually serious analysis of my life or things that matter to me. Yesterday , my mind latched onto leadership.
I thought I understood what this meant in years past; I was wrong.
Being a leader requires a lot of things. It’s more than being the recognizable face, or the loud one , or the one who saves people’s asses.
It’s about knowing your personnel. It’s about knowing when to get under people’s skin and when to shut up and listen. It’s when to give people space. It’s deciding to keep your grievances to yourself and work towards the good of the team. It’s being aware of when it’s time to bust your ass and give absolutely everything you have (aka , every day you wake up).
Most people lead by example. I no longer respect that. Why? Because it’s easy.
It’s easy to just do your job , and play your role to the utmost , while not really looking at your team. You have to speak up ; you have to be a shoulder to lean on ; you HAVE to inquire. Your lack of involvement in your (team/friends/coworkers) existence will cause shit to go south. Maybe the reason you can’t get to the next level is because you don’t accept enough responsibility. Maybe you’re afraid. Maybe you don’t think you have the talent. Whichever reason you choose has become fact. Solely because you’ve allowed it to be so.
I for one, speak up in the worst ways. I hold myself to an unbelievable personal standard that I really don’t reveal to people (and I won’t here). I hold everyone around me to that same level too. The thing is, everyone doesn’t feel like me nor do they see it how i see it. Sometimes, I’m rather insensitive to that. I know that my actions from here on out (and probably always) directly affect everyone around me , be it friends or a random person around for the moment. I listen well, but I can listen MORE. I do not shy away from (and at times have, caused) confrontation , so it’s always “us against them” or “me against them”. While I still agree with this ideology in a lot of situations, when people play off of your energy , you can’t constantly give them that mindset. You have to TALK. You have to take their feelings , mix them with yours and spread this all amongst the circle. You may have to go down with the ship but in the same breath , you may also hoist the trophy to the skies. You have to be fine with both. Not “oh i guess its ok”. I mean “success or failure is fine because I know we put everything into it”. I haven’t always been that person.
I was a shy kid. I never gravitated to the front. Up until I was about 19-20 , I only lead if I “fell” into position to do so. I was somewhat “elected”. Over time , I’ve grown to appreciate leading because I took on the role , and also knowing when it’s not my time to do so. I think things have changed and will continue to because I have truly begun to understand what I mean to people and the responsibility that comes with that. We all have different roles to play. I just think that when you’re up front, you owe it to yourself and everyone with you to be your very best.