Leadership Paths

Business leaders have a simple choice.  The first and most common is to lead forward on the steady path and encourage those following to stay true and keep up the good effort.  This leadership choice is a helpful one in many cases because it keeps the forward progress going and can even stay vigilant of threats to the work underway.  If you are not at least doing this, you should not call yourself a leader.

The second alternative would be to strive to grow and improve.  This leader challenges themselves and others to find a better way to do what is being done and willing to try new ways to be faster, make more profit, or improve the quality.  This is leadership in elevating the effort to do things better.  This is a higher form of leadership that benefits the individuals as well as the whole team.

The highest form of leadership is one that gets outside the framework to examine, not can we do this better but rather, can we do a better This.  Can we find a better thing to do, not just a better way to do the same thing?  Consider the photography industry a few years ago – that asked not, how can we make better film, but rather, how can we participate in the elevation of photography.  They did not do what they were doing better, but found they needed to completely change what they did to grow.  In fact, to not do this meant death to many companies.

The hardest choice is the choice to be willing to grow yourself and to develop the courage to lead change by finding the better thing to do, and leading the way with others to reach that end.  The first two choices take the approach of the engineer who gets more out of the engine on the might ship.  The latter, takes the vision of the navigator and the captain who charts new courses to perhaps better destinations.