At a young age, a spiritual mentor asked me to think about what it means to be a leader. Although blinded and deeply unaware of how to answer the question, that moment planted the seed.
I believe that to become a leader, I need to go through three levels:
1) worker -> 2) manager -> 3) leader
The progression through these three levels is natural and necessary as a child growing and learning to walk.
1) Worker: a worker learns the essential skills of a profession and works on them repetitively to become an expert in these skills
2) Manager: a manager understands artfully how to capitalize on the skill sets of each individual within a team and persuasively convinces them to work profitably towards the completion of a common objective
3) Leader: a leader keeps the interests and development of each individual in the organization in mind, including worker, manager, other leaders, and their family as well community members in mind, to EMPOWER them with essential tools and mechanisms that will ENABLE them to make a holistic IMPACT in a positive way.
After analyzing the progression through these 3 levels, I would also like to take the opportunity to define for myself what the meaning of TRUE LEADERSHIP is. The definition is based on past pieces of literature that I have read, my personal experiences and values, in addition to some of the individuals that I consider to be leaders.
1) Can hold contrasting ideas in their minds while developing a comprehensive world view all of their own.
2) Can humbly and respectfully include / listen to others’ opinions to work towards a common goal.
3) Can recognize their own mistakes and introspectfully reflect on these mistakes to improve on them while having the resiliency to stand up and overcome these barriers again.
Moving beyond the general definition of leadership, I took the opportunity to look internally at my personalities and traits, in addition to examining the external influence of people and the environment on my actions.
I have come to define for myself what MY LEADERSHIP STYLE is:
I am a COMPASSIONATE leader.
The movement towards a compassionate leadership style is subtle and the transition happens when one moves beyond the personal self and ego towards what everyone can accomplish together. A compassionate leader is someone who feels comfortable and honoured to play all 3 roles of a worker, manager, and leader flexibly depending on the needs and requirement of the condition and social situation.