Leaders play many different roles. In various military branches and organizations, you hear statements like “Mission first, people always.” The fact is that this is a false choice. The leader’s job is mission accomplishment, and the people she leads do the work to accomplish the mission. When leaders fail to train, grow, and care for their people in the mission context, the organization fails. The leader’s first role is to inspire people to transcend to something greater than themselves. The mission is “the something greater.”
But leaders play many roles, including decisionmaker, motivator, communicator, strategist/planner, creator, mentor, and more, depending on the organization. Each role brings vital responsibilities in the organization’s life cycle and daily routine. Those responsibilities should be well defined, and the leader must integrate them into their personal and organizational practice. These many roles and responsibilities are how the leader engages with his people and directs the organization. It is also how the leader inspires. It is his duty.
Kouzes and Posner, in their book “The Leadership Challenge,” identify the top four qualities of a leader by survey of employees: honesty, vision, inspiration, and competency. In every action, the leader inspires by demonstrating vision, competency, and honesty. Leaders may motivate with rousing speeches, but they inspire by their dedication to the mission, organization, and people.
So this week, look at your roles and identify the responsibilities they impart. Now, prioritize those responsibilities and ensure you do your duty because that is how you inspire your people.
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Remember, “all things are possible through prayer and heavy deadlifts.”™