In the introduction of our first book, “The Leader, The Teacher and You”, we wrote that all of us have the potential to make a positive difference in our own spheres of influence and be leaders in our own right – you could be the CEO of a multi-national corporation, a stay-at-home mother, an emergency room nurse, or a secondary school student.
The fact is that your life counts and you have the potential to be a thought leader and influencer in your own right.
Later in the same book, we mentioned on page 153 that there are two aspects of leadership we have to master to be an outstanding leader:
- Position Leadership: leadership that is expected of someone in the appointment that one holds.
- Personal Leadership: the kind of leadership that causes people to respect and want to follow a leader, not because they have to, but because they want to. It can be exercised by anyone at any level in an organisation.
In short, “Position Leadership” describes what the leader is expected to do well; and “Personal Leadership” makes the point that it is the quality of personal leadership that determines how successful you can be as a leader.
To win with honour in personal leadership, it is important to lead with graciousness, as pointed out by Mr David Brooks of the New York Times in this article that was published in The Straits Times on 29 August 2016.
We quote a few pertinent points for your reference:
- “it’s not enough to be experienced. The people in public life we really admire turn experience into graciousness. Those people, I think, see their years as humbling agents. They see that, more often than not, the events in our lives are perfectly designed to lay bare our chronic weaknesses and expose some great whopping new ones.”
- “Sooner or later life teaches you that you’re not the centre of the universe, nor quite as talented or good as you thought. It teaches you to care less about what others think and, less self-conscious, to get out of your own way.”
- “Gracious people are humble enough to observe that the best things in life are usually undeserved – the way the pennies of love you invest in children get returned in dollars later on; the kindness of strangers; the rebirth that comes after a friend’s unexpected and overawing act of forgiveness.”
- “The gracious people one sees in life and reads about in history books – I’m thinking of the all-time greats like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and (US social activist) Dorothy Day as well as closer figures ranging from Pope Francis to (Czech writer and statesman) Vaclav Havel – turn awareness of their own frailty into sympathy for others’ frailty.”
- “Such people have a gentle strength. They are aggressive and kind, free of sharp elbows, comfortable revealing and being abashed by their transgressions.”
- “Experience distils life into instinct…if you treat the world as a friendly and hopeful place, as a web of relationships, you’ll look for the good news in people and not the bad. You’ll be willing to relinquish control, and in surrender you’ll actually gain more strength as people trust in your candour and come alongside.”
- “Gracious leaders create a more gracious environment by greeting the world openly and so end up maximising their influence and effectiveness.”
Will you choose to be gracious and surrender your need for control in order to win with honour for the greater good?