It Takes More Than a Tweet to Lead

photoGeez, there are so many people who tweet and blog about the subject of Leadership. Some seem to know what they are talking about, some, not so much.

Some have and do actually lead. Others … not so much.

I read lots of the leadership tweets and some of the Leadership Blogs. There are just too many to read them all or even most. Truth be told, I read a very tiny slice of what’s posted each day but I’ve noticed that most of them have one thing in common: tweeting and blogging about leadership can kind of make it sound easy.

Here’s one thing that you should know about leadership and never doubt this for a minute. Leadership, authentic leadership, is not easy. It requires courage, sacrifice, caring, determination, knowledge, sound judgement, experience dealing with people, and perhaps most of all commitment.

It requires commitment because people leading will be an interruption to your plans. Your people’s need for support doesn’t punch a clock. You can have your own “stuff” to accomplish but the moment that you put your people off for yourself, you begin to fail as a leader.

Authentic leaders willingly sacrifice what they want for what their people need. They do it because they care about their people and they lead for others sake, not their own.

Leading requires you to hang in there when it’s tough, even on days you’re not up to it. You can’t lead if you try to take a pass on the hard decisions. You can’t truly lead if you’re going to try to hide from the responsibility that comes with leading.

It’s easy to talk, tweet or write about leadership. Real conversations between a leader and one of their people can at times be the most challenging of conversations. Telling someone the kind of things they don’t want to hear is never comfortable. Telling someone they aren’t performing nearly as well as they thought they were requires delicate compassion and courage to confront the situation as soon as possible. Authentic leaders know that very often the tough conversations are the ones most needed and the ones that can pay the biggest dividends.

Authentic leadership is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week commitment. There will be times when you just don’t want to lead and those are likely the times when your authentic leadership will be most needed. If you’re going to truly lead then you’re going to have to hang in there for everyone else.

I’ll continue to read, think, and write about leadership. I’d encourage you to do the same. Every leader, no matter their experience still has much to learn about leading. Remember this as you learn: real leadership is not about what you think, know or even about what you think you know. Real leadership is about what you do, when you do it and most certainly, it’s about how you do it.



17 thoughts on “It Takes More Than a Tweet to Lead

  1. Thanks for this great post!
    I definitely agree that leadership isn’t a “cup of tea” for many of us. In academia for instance (where I work as a department chair), my employees are my colleagues, and the “chair” position rotates among faculty members. So one day you are leading and the 2nd day you aren’t. Hence, you need to carefully watch your actions because you are not sitting on that chair for long. Furthermore, there are always some subtle decisions to be made.
    I’ll definitely keep on reading about “Leadership” because I find many posts very useful and insightful. And, you never know, I might be promoted to a higher position 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment. That is an interesting form of leadership. I like it, when leaders share the responsibility it tends to make all of them more responsible. Or at least it should. 🙂

      1. Great post Steve. Writing about any topic, is always easier than actually doing it! And to your comment above, rotating the “chair” requires those not in charge to still feel responsible for the outcome. For me that is a key leadership mindset – do you care about the outcome as well as the process? Leadership is tiring and can be lonely, so loved your note of realism!

  2. Steve, great post. The last line is purposeful and direct. I enjoy very much what you have to say. There is so much great food for thought tied up in this blog and you said what I have been thinking with the bit about so many leadership blogs and tweets. Just solid thought and writing. I appreciate the underlying supposition that character drives the leader.

  3. Outstanding post. What I have learned over the years is that there is nothing easy about leading. You have to see it and believe it as a purpose. And you have to believe that at any level within a business you can lead the people with whom you are engaged. It is not about title or position, it is about making a difference for those around you.

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