In their article “SuperLeadership: Beyond the Myth of Heroic Leadership” authors Charles Manz and Henry P. Sims, Jr. question whether the heroic figure of a leader is the most appropriate image of the organizational leader of today.
Their answer: true leadership comes mainly from within a person, not from outside. Thus the challenge for any of us giving and receiving leadership within an organization is to understand how to mine the immense wealth of talent each employee or volunteer possesses.
Two great quotes came across my desk in the past 24 hours that reflect this idea of self-leadership. One is ancient, one is fresh.
A leader is best
When people barely know he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him.
Worse when they despise him.
But of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say:
We did it ourselves.
– Lao-tzu, 6th century B.C. Chinese philosopher
“Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says ‘Oh crap! She’s up!'”
– Rachel, student-led movement intern