"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott
The creature would certainly have a passing influence, but it would never be
confused with positive leadership with the capacity to produce long-term life
transformation. At best (or worst) it can alter the the circumstances of our
lives through brute force.
In fact, the sheer power and imposing strength of the rhino, if it were a metaphor for those qualities in our lives, might be a detriment. Peter Drucker observed that, " No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human."
Real leadership is more about character than charisma. It must be something that can be duplicated in other people who are willing to develop in character and pay the price of integrity and consistency.
"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a market for great leadership.
Not only do we have the opportunity to find those kinds of people in our lives, but we can be that kind of person to someone else. In fact, the cycle is not complete until we fnd ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends of mentorship. You can be more, but you can also be the person who invites and inspires someone else to be more. Never under estimate your capacity to be a positive influence.
Intimidating people, beating them up, overpowering them, out-talking, and staring them down will only produce temporary results and not positive ones at that.
How then might we lead as to inspire people to reach their next level of greatness?
- Love them. It may seem trite, but it is a reality that a trust worthy leader is someone who not only loves his/her followers, but communicates that love in service, refines it in prayer, and oozes it in words of encouragement and sensitive silence. Jesus declared and modeled that the good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
- Elevate them. Desire and drive their rise to prominence. Take a back seat. Rejoice when they prosper. Swell with delight when they are recognized. Brag on them and let them take the bows.
- Accelerate their opportunities to learn, grow, be exposed to other great leaders and to expose themselves to the public. Pass on books, articles, audio teaching, and event announcements. Take them places and introduce them. Give them assignments that will stretch them.
- Mentor as a friends, a coach, a parent, and a sibling. Mlost of all, be a posiitve, practical, and observale example. Be available. Listen, advise, and applaud. Become their cheerleading section and be available.
That is L for Love, E for Elevate, A for Accelerate, and M for Mentor = LEAD!
"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership." — Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you want fast results that will produce no enduring fruit, release the rhinoceros in you in some crowded place. If you want to be a leader who inspires people to greatness, however, LEAD.