“If serving is below you, then leadership is beyond you." - Unknown
Regrettably, in the world we live in today, we are constantly assessing and revising who we can look to for leadership and unmistakably come up short.
Where have all the leaders gone? When did such dilution begin and erosion ensue? Have we lowered our standards or have we been forced to lower them?
I will gladly suggest that a symbiotic relationship has taken place, and we now are faced with a “new normal” when it comes to people we should look up to but don’t want to.
Problem is, the confines of where you work, what you do and wanting to move up in the world constricts you into dealing with people you would otherwise not devalue your virtues and good name for. Ironically, you are the one who ends up compromising way more than any misleading leader ever does.
The good news? We live in a world where the vastness that it holds, the ever-changing, ever-evolving and infinite possibilities that are made available allow us to choose. So, choose wisely.
Let's look at some of the differences between these two realities. Hopefully, it will help you make better choices along the way.
Some attributes of true leaders:
1. You’re not trying to be right, you’re only trying to be clear in what you say.
2. Your aim is not to have the last word.
3. You have no need to show that it was your idea, rather you empower others to own it.
4. You know you are only as good as your last performance, hence you always try your best and give your best, seldom resting at the helm.
5. You help others to lead their own life.
6. You do whatever necessary to deliver on promises made, without overdelivering.
7. You set yourself apart by never making excuses and holding yourself accountable in any and all situations. You are never absent in moments of strife or difficulties, you are usually at the head of the class.
8. You are respected because you have respected first, and understand that a leader serves first (a mantra I live by).
Now, here are some attributes of “fake” leaders:
1. You're deceptive in your speech and attitude.
2. You have lots of acronyms attached to your name -- and lots of insecurities and braggadocio attached to that.
3. You usually blame others for any downfall or downturn in events — “blame if you want to be lame” — and you can't see beyond yourself to understand what you are doing.
4. You control others and force them to do what you want.
5. You overcommit and rarely deliver on your promises.
6. You make excuses when things go wrong, leading others not to trust you.
7. You always deem you have led your entire life. You don't know what it means to listen or obey.
8. You aren't interested in fostering other leaders. You have no interest in helping others accomplish beyond your present limitations. Yet you need followers to validate your sense of worth and "power."
In the end, the truth behind all this is that we have the singular mission of doing one thing and one thing only: being authentic.
It's quite a feat since we now live in a world of virtual personas where, at every turn, a new "leader" is born — a CEO, a serial entrepreneur, the latest and greatest best-selling author who overnight has a zillion followers on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram (who are they again?) and, last but not least, coaches who tell you they have the secret to your happiness and living your greatest life, even though they haven’t a clue as to how to find it for themselves.
Authenticity should be what we strive for the “new normal” to be. How do we start? Well, start by speaking your mind. Mean what you say. Show your perfect imperfections and let everyone know without shame. Tell the truth, even if it’s not what others want to hear or it makes you unpopular. I promise you, the right path will come back to you in the end. Don’t be afraid to fight the status quo, even if it’s easier to follow the crowd. Better to be remembered as someone who stood up than someone who stood by.
To making it count. Who’s with me?
This article has been published on Forbes.com