This post is something of a preamble to a new post I will be publishing on Tuesday September 6th called “In Search of NOW Leaders…NOW” (watch for it won’t you?). As far as I know, the poet remains unknown, but the message the poem sends is quite powerful and points out that leadership, even in all of its complexity, can at times be as simple as caring about others; rolling up our sleeves and joining in the work. Enjoy.
I went on a search to become a leader
I searched high and low. I spoke with authority, people listened but alas, there
Was one who was wiser than I and they followed him
I sought to inspire confidence but the crowd responded.
“Why should we trust you?”
I postured and I assumed the look of leadership with a countenance that glowed
with confidence and pride.
But many passed me by and never noticed my air of elegance.
I ran ahead of others, pointing the way to new heights.
I demonstrated that I knew the route to greatness.
And then I looked back and I was alone.
And I sat me down and I pondered long.
And then I listened to the voices around me.
And I heard what the group was trying to accomplish
I rolled up my sleeves and joined in the work.
As we worked, I asked,
“Are we all together in what we want to do and how to get the job done?”
And we thought together and we fought together
And we struggled towards our goal.
I found myself encouraging the fainthearted
I sought ideas of those too shy to speak out.
I taught those who had little skill.
I praised those who worked hard.
When our task was completed, one of the groups turned to me and said, “This would not have been done but for your leadership.”
At first, I said, “I didn’t lead, I just worked with the rest.”
And then I understood, leadership is not a goal.
It’s a way of reaching a goal.
I lead best when I help others to use themselves creatively.
I lead best when I forget about myself as leader and focus on my group, their needs and their goals.
To lead is to serve, to give, to achieve
What was your search like?