Everyone needs an acrostic every now and then to help us remember things or get a better grasp of concepts. So, today I present an acrostic to help us understand better how to lead.
L – Learn – Each of us must invest in ourselves in order to learn how to become a better leader. Although many folks are naturally gifted with leadership traits and tendencies, many are not so gifted. So it is imperative that we each develop ways to learn from other recognized leaders in our contemporary culture. And we must cultivate a good historical knowledge of leaders from our past. Read about leaders such as Jack Welch and George Patton. Do not necessarily get distracted by some of their personal or family foibles. But rather focus on the public leadership that they displayed.
E – Earn – Each of us must earn the right to lead. We must lead in the little things first before we can expect to be given great leadership responsibility. You don’t often make it from the mail room to the board room in a week. But, you will earn the right to lead through time and through trial and error. Unfortunately many in the younger generation have never experienced trial and error. They have grown up in a culture where everyone is a winner. And you are given a ribbon for just participating. The ribbon is conferred upon you and not earned by your efforts. Leadership is earned.
A – Admire – Each of us must find another leader whom we admire for their leadership abilities. And this time, unlike the first item of the acrostic, character counts. In fact, character is everything in this regard. Here is where you will learn the personal traits that make the leader great. Here is where you will find the leaders that are making the most lasting impacts. These most likely will not be the captains of industry. Rather, they will be the head deacon in a church, the director of a local compassionate ministry that is really making a difference and is drawing volunteers to be a part of it and reaching folks at the point of their greatest need. These leaders will seldom be seen on the six o’clock news or seen on the front page of a glossy magazine. But these will be men and women who you would like to use as a model for your life and leadership style.
D – Duplicate – Each of us must find someone to pour ourself into and mentor them to become a great leader as well. Leadership is not about creating followers. It is about creating other leaders. Leadership Voices is deeply committed to this particular aspect. This is a time consuming aspect of the process. And in fact, it is many times the start of the process in someone else who is looking at us to “Learn” or “Admire” as they are using this acrostic in their own leadership development.
So what is the point of this simple acrostic? It is to drive home the points above and ask the following questions.
- Who are you learning from these days?
- What are you doing to earn the right to lead?
- Who do you admire and want to pattern your leadership style after?
- Who are you investing in and duplicating and reproducing more leaders for today and tomorrow?