As I sit on a very cramped New Haven line train, I think about what makes a leader. For whatever reason I had not realized that leaders don’t need to know everything. I know this because I thought I liked being a leader, but knew I could not be one since I did not know everything about anything.
For the first tine in a long time I have business partners. Really smart business partners. They know things, no they have forgotten things about marketing and and consumer behavior that I will never know. Yet since I thought to put the three of us together, there was a certain amount of deference being afforded me. I had running room but did not realize it.
Partners can and should have a leader. Here’s what that does not mean. You don’t get to make decisions unilaterally. What kind of partnership would that be? At the very least not a collaborative partnership. Any of us can and are encouraged to bring ideas to the table.
I also believe that it serves us best (collectively), if one of us is the front person. What a partnership also means is that the good ideas can come from different areas. That’s a much better thing than I ever imagined. A one voice partnership is rarely about anyone else but the one voice.
From what I have seen the best leaders are interested in, and care about, other people. There are also many examples of successful leaders that are not all that interested in their individual team members – i.e. people. While they may indeed be successful, I don’t rank those leaders as the best of the best. As important as it is, great leadership is more than the bottom line.
And that’s what I aspire to be. A leader. I did not know that before today but I know it now. I want to help and guide those around me be the best they can be. And in the process I believe our company can be the best we can be.
I think that might have to do with being a leader. I hope so because if that’s true I really would like too be one.
Is that all it takes? Or is that what it takes to begin with?