“Great leadership isn’t about position, it’s about who you are”.
This is the message in Peter’ Anderson’s TED Talk on leadership where he simplifies the topic down to 2 simple rules.
Our modern world has us constantly looking for the silver bullet. We look for it everywhere, in all aspects of our lives. The one new shiny thing that is going to give us the answer. The short cut to success. This is no different in the world of leadership.
Over time this has created a complex tapestry of leadership methodologies and techniques that have buried the simple rules that underpin all great leadership.
Peter shares leadership history:
- From Lao Tzu to Sun Tzu to Cicero to Jesus, leadership was always about service.
- Then came Machiavelli in the 16th century where it became all about the leader.
- Thomas Carlyle in the 19th century made us believe leaders were born, not made. You had it or you didn’t.
- Moving onto the 20th century and Frederick Taylor brought us scientific management. Optimising the way work was done with no responsibility.
- Then more recently it was looking for the traits of leaders and a behavioural approach.
The evolution of these have taken us further and further away from rule number one:
It’s not about you
Many “leaders” get caught up in the thinking that it’s all about them. Being the go to person with all the answers. In our complex world the reality is that no one person has all the answers. Great leadership is about creating more leaders rather than more followers.
Authentic leadership is another methodology that is doing the rounds at the moment, and this does take us to rule number two:
It’s only about you
What’s going on around leaders is a reflection of who they are. Who are they, what do they stand for and believe in. Or are they just doing the time?
If you are a leader, or an aspiring one, one question the talk leaves you with is, “what environment are you creating?” It’s a great one considering these 2 rules.
Here is the full 17-minute TED talk where Peter shares these 2 simple rules for great leadership.
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