It’s been said many times in many different ways, leaders have the ability to envision what could and should be, and then take the necessary steps for that vision to become reality. In other words:
the kind that doesn’t settle for “good enough”
the approach that believes no obstacle is too big
the attitude that always considers others first
the style that isn’t afraid to do hard things
I am talking about the type of leadership that would make a positive impact in any culture at any time in history. It is this type of leader that Student Leadership Universityis dedicated to developing, equipping and celebrating.
Throughout this blog series, I want us to address an idea concerning the leadership journey that isn’t often discussed. Quite honestly, it’s not discussed often because it is nearly impossible to measure. Probably because it is more of a byproduct to the process rather than an ingredient. Anyways, here it is: As the leader grows in his or her leadership, their leadership immune system becomes strengthened in such a way that it becomes intolerant to characteristics, behaviors, and/or beliefs that are diametrically opposed to healthy leadership. In short, leaders have an adverse reaction to anything preventing them from being the best leaders they can be. That is what I will now call ‘leadership allergies.’
The dictionary defines ‘allergy’ as a damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive. We have allergies to things like pollen, cat hair or peanuts because it is our bodies way of saying, “this isn’t helpful” or “this shouldn’t be tolerated”.
Just like the human body has an immune system that is hypersensitive to what’s not helpful, leaders build up an immunity to behaviors, attitudes, and ideas that detract from being a good leader. At this point there are two concepts worth clarifying. First, when referring to leadership allergies, the idea has to do solely with each leader and what is intolerable to them specifically. This is unique and applicable to oneself. Secondly, as one grows in his or her leadership, thus becoming healthier (leadership immune system), that leader will become more sensitive to what is unhealthy and unhelpful.
So with the fall season rapidly approaching, we will inevitably be confronted with challenges old and new. Therefore, we will spend a few weeks identifying certain mindsets and attitudes that every leader should become allergic to in his or her journey. In the meantime, answer these two questions for yourself:
- What is a quality or behavior often times mistaken for good leadership?
- What is a habit or activity that most detracts from effective leadership?
Part 2 coming next Tuesday on the blog!