The Key of Being Set Apart
You will forever have trouble being a leader if you are constantly following the crowd. Leader by it’s very description refers to someone who is set apart. I’ve heard it said that, “It’s lonely at the top”, and although that can be true it doesn’t have to be. A gentleman once said to me that, “he was alone with his thought”, but I never got the impression that he was lonely.
My point, if you need the crowd to be a leader then you’ll never lead the crowd because the crowd will be leading you. In politics I’ve heard the reference to, “populist leader”, used many times. A populist leader is someone who figures out what the crowd wants and does that. They appear like they’re leading, but in reality they are being led by the popular idea of the crowd. A leader can become popular through innovative ideas and systems that give people what they need and not necessarily what they think they need.
What people actually need and what they think they need are often two very different things. Sometimes what they want can just be a mask to cover up what they really need. They think that if they get the thing they want it will replace the thing that they really need. A pace setting leader understands this and can be in the midst of a crowd without being directed by the crowd. They do it through, purpose, vision, understanding and wisdom. A pace setting leader understands that they can have a relationship with the crowd and still be set apart to lead the crowd. In order to do this a leader must understand four simple truths.
4 Simple Truths:
Loneliness Is An Attitude, Not An Actuality
If you are not comfortable with your own company you will always be lonely. If you constantly need to be in the midst of the crowd you are probably trying to draw something from them for your self-worth. A leader needs to find their worth somewhere other than in the dictates of the crowd or their life will always be filled with a need for the crowd. If you don’t think you’re worth spending time with, why should anyone else. This doesn’t mean a leader should spend a solitary life; it means that a leader’s worth comes from within and not from without. We must always check out attitude in regard to this or with will seek leadership for the wrong reasons.
It’s Possible To Be Alone In The Midst Of A Crowd
Being surrounded by people doesn’t automatically cure a sense of loneliness. The crowd is not the answer to loneliness because often times everyone in the crowd is seeking the same thing. They are not thinking about alleviating your loneliness they are thinking about alleviating theirs. Looking to the crowd to fill a void is often fruitless. A leader needs to build the right crowd around themselves so that the support they need is found in the strength of others rather than the weakness of others. When we draw strength from the right crowd we will no longer be alone in the crowd.
It’s Possible To Lead While Being Surrounded
You don’t have to isolate yourself in order to lead people. Although leaders need to be comfortable with their own company they don’t have to be isolationists. Who you’re surrounded with becomes the important factor. Strong healthy relationships need to be built by every leader so that they have support, input and accountability. You can lead the people who are surrounding you without isolating yourself from them, but you do need to use caution when allowing them to get close.
Leadership Arises From Competence Not Circumstance
Although circumstances can provide opportunity for leadership, circumstances don’t automatically make leaders. Lot’s of people can be involved in the same circumstance but that doesn’t mean that they will all surface as leaders. When circumstance provides opportunity then those who are competent should be the ones to rise up and lead. Their competence and their character should set them apart. Others may try to surface for the wrong reasons and lead from a populist position, but this is where true leadership needs to arise. The leader who does this will set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd.
The results of understanding these things will be that the right people end up in leadership. They will set the right pace in the right direction for all the right reasons and not just because the crowd wants something. A leader who is set apart is more interested in what people need than in what people want.