Leadership, Vision, and Imagination

One of the many blogs I read is called Slow Leadership. I quote from one of their recent posts titled, Debunking today’s mythology of leadership:

Truly successful leaders don’t even try to control events. They recognize that the only way to direct a large group of people is through some ruling idea. That’s what they supply: a vision to believe in; a set of ideas to guide the thousands of individual decisions being made every day without any direct input from them. “Without a vision, the people perish.” These biblical words sum it up. What we should be doing is seeking out leaders with imagination: people who can think and produce fresh visions for others to follow.

Because I’m involved in leadership roles in multiple organizations, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a leader. Sometimes I think I’m doing okay with leadership, other times I don’t. I just told one of my friends that I’m proactive in theory, reactionary in practice. It’s easier to let someone else make a decision. It’s always easier to help the person who comes to me, and work on the project that’s brought to my attention. It’s easier to present options to someone rather than a definitive recommendation. It’s easier to ask someone what they want rather than imagining what can be AND presenting a way to get there.

A leader will take responsibility and make a decision. A leader will ask the hard questions and choose a path. A leader will care enough to pursue a project or person rather than just waiting to react. A leader will have the guts to share a vision and take a position. Maybe part of the fascination people have with leaders, real leaders at least, is it’s easier to look to someone else rather than to take a stand. Leadership, though, is not a position, but a state of mind, a choice. I’m still learning what it means to be a leader. At least I know what I’m aiming for…