How to grow into a Leadership role
This quote is for all of you amazing people who want to make the world a better place.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership. If you want to make a positive impact on the world, learning to lead better will help you do it.“ – John C. Maxwell
And it’s also a reminder for me.
I had the wish to make the world a better place for a long time, but my past me hated the idea of taking up a leadership role. I guess, I still had an old-school image of a leader stuck in my head: A manager, a dictator or simply someone who bosses people around all day long.
No way I wanted to be that person! The idea of reading a book like the 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell would have never struck me back then.
When I came to the ranch, everyone was encouraged to read this particular book and other self-development books. Though I already had a keen interest in self-development before coming to the ranch, reading a book about leadership simply made no sense to me as I did not want to boss people around. So for a long time I postponed it. My bad.
Since then, a few years have passed, my hair of wisdom has been growing eagerly and I have come to realize that there is another way of leading people and that a real leader is not a manager, but someone who inspires people, someone who makes people want to follow, want to work with the leader – because of their skills, knowledge and attitude.
I learned that ending up in a leadership role is not such a bad thing. Once I gained confidence guiding I often sought the challenge to be the first rider on Wilderness Pack Trips. It felt great to be able to empower others – and challenge them to step out of their comfort zone! – for example by letting my guests lead on easy trails. I knew that it was safe thanks to our horses, and the guests, especially children, became a lot more confident as they grew into their leadership roles.
Over time I also started to become more efficient. I got in the habit of thinking of ways to get multiple things done at the same time. Like letting other mentor guides lead on our introductory River Ride. From behind, as the last rider, I could get a much better overview of my guests’ riding skills, I could talk to them about the nature surrounding them and at the same time do some trail clearing or ride a green horse that needed more training. In the mean time, the second mentor guide could practice their leadership and orientation skills. Everything was a win-win.
I realized quickly, that even though the lead guide position is fun to be in – often it is necessary to step away from it, to focus on being a mentor guide, equal to all the other guides, not in charge of them. “You rise by lifting others“ they say, and this also applies for leading pack trips.
Often it is more beneficial to step back and give others the chance to practice becoming better leaders. By creating a capable team you not only enhance the lives of your colleagues, but also the business and get more time efficient – increasing productivity and off-time to recharge and enjoy this beautiful environment.
Doing that is certainly not always easy – especially as things don’t always get done the way you want them to be done. Yet, unless it is a life-or-death situation, in which case I would step in, this is the best way to empower the other person and help them to develop a mindset that will accept and take responsibility, is problem-solving orientated and optimistic.
The best is, that while I thus become a teacher and facilitator of opportunities I also evolve and grow – by observing, gaining insights about other people and myself as well as learning to let go of the need to be in control of everything all the time.
By now I have come to value books like the 5 Levels of Leadership and the insights and help they offer. I can now identify where I am at and what I need to work on to become the best me I can be. Because that’s the thing with wanting to change the world to make it a better place. It starts with YOU, leading by example and inspiring others to want to walk down a similar path as you. You cannot change the world by force – only by inspiration and education. So here is my challenge to YOU – take charge and become a leader who people want to follow and who inspires others to become the best person they can be.
And then, I am sure, the accumulative effect of all these new leaders who we inspired to take responsibility for their own actions will slowly but surely bring about the change we want to see in the world.