The 5 Spires of Leadership
Leadership is one of those qualities that is so hard to measure. Yet, in life and in business, great leaders are not hard to spot. They are those who have the ability to seize their potential as well as release the potential in those around them. They bring individuals together to form a cohesive team and align diverse talents and energies in pursuit of a common goal. They inspire people to give their all to group initiatives, not because they have to, but because they want to.
As I was thinking about inspiring leaders, I began to realize that leaders do a lot more ‘spiring’ than just ‘in-spiring’.
Leaders must first aspire, then perspire. They must conspire and inspire in order to transpire.
Do you know that the ‘spire’ part of these words comes from the Latin spīrāre meaning “to breathe”? Let’s take a look at 5 spires or breaths that can change the world.
A true leader must first have their own aspiration.
When you choose to follow someone, you usually choose someone who is going somewhere. You are drawn to those people who have ‘great ambition’ and are pursuing a goal of higher value than their own rewards.
What is it that you aspire to? What are your aspirations? What do you “pant after?”
Do you have visions, dreams, and goals or have you given up on those? Does it feel like you are chasing the visions of others, serving many masters and their agendas… like you don’t really have a choice?
OK, not many of us like to think about sweating, but perspiring is a necessary ingredient to leadership. You must be willing and able to do the work… and leadership is work.
We all want to follow leaders who aren’t afraid of doing the work necessary to get the job done and reach their aspirations. How many times have you seen people in positions of leadership who believe that leadership is just bossing other people around and telling them where to go and what to do? As soon as these ‘leaders’ turn their backs, their ‘followers’ are going in the opposite or at least a different direction. They are the types of leaders who go running after their subordinates saying “Come on. Follow me!! I’m your leader!“
True leaders get the job done and set great examples for their followers.
This word is most commonly used with leadership but in and of itself is insufficient to acquire willing followers.
We follow leaders who draw us in to their cause and make us feel as though we are an integral part of the solution. It’s not just a practical, rational ambition. It’s an ambition that stirs your emotions… stirs your soul. It’s a competency that requires the ability to connect with others. These leaders skillfully breathe life into us and inspire us to move and act in a way that accomplishes “our” goal. Yes, “our” goal – not simply their goal.
In today’s western society, conspire usually has negative connotations associated with it. In the American Heritage Dictionary the first definition is “To plan together secretly to commit an illegal or wrongful act or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action”. Yet, if we look further, we’ll find that the next definition states, ‘To join or act together; combine: “Semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso, Cognac, and vanilla all conspire to intensify the cake’s flavor”.’ (Did I make you hungry with that one?)
Doesn’t that last definition sound like a metaphor for what great leaders do. Great leaders know that to accomplish their ambitions they can’t do it alone. Great leaders bring individuals together with diverse tastes and talents to form a cohesive team aligning their collective energies in pursuit of a common goal.
Leaders make things happen. They create. Leaders take ideas and effort and turn them into tangible, measurable, valuable things. They take things beyond breathe and make them a reality. Leaders generate value!
Here’s an exercise for you. Take out a sheet of paper (do you still use that stuff?) or you can open up a document on your computer. Copy these 5 questions below and take the time to answer them. Do this today!! Don’t wait.
If you don’t have answers to the questions above, you may be struggling as a leader. But don’t give up. Ask for help from others to help you find the answers. Great things will happen when you realize you don’t have to have ALL of the answers and know EVERYTHING or pretend that you do. Don’t believe me? Check out this video and see if you can recognize who’s speaking.
Remember… You just have to keep looking, working and growing. Why? Because the view from the top is SOOOO worth it!