Leadership for me, is defined in 6 simple words – “To grow and help others grow”
Why do you need to grow? It is because you cannot give what you do not have. There are many people who possess good hearts and the desire to give, yet they have very little to offer. Why? Because they have not first added value to themselves. I urge you to invest more in yourself. Spend more time in making yourself valuable. Spend more time in acquiring knowledge, new skills or gaining experience. You not only improve yourself but you also increase your ability to help others.
One of the benefits of volunteering for leadership roles in Toastmasters is that it forces you to learn new skills. The roles I played required me to read books, attend conferences, listen to audio books, and learn from better leaders. The maximum learning came from my interaction with young people who had so much to share about new ideas, modern technology and their own unique way of connecting with their peers. The skills I picked up, have helped me succeed both in business and personal spheres.
As you become more valuable, you will start getting opportunities to add value to other people. You will also start teaching people to be ‘self-improvers’. They say – ‘the goal of all teachers should be to equip students to get along without them’. Similarly the goal of all leaders should be to enable their followers to succeed without them. As you work with others and help them to better themselves, give them what they need so that they learn to take care of themselves. Teach them to find resources. Encourage them to get out of their comfort zone on their own. Point them towards additional people who can help them learn and grow. If you can help them to become lifelong learners, you will have given them an incredible gift.
You may have heard it said – “No one becomes rich unless he enriches another” When you enrich others by helping them grow and become better, you bring joy to them and to yourself. There is a Sanskrit saying – ‘Puthraath icheth parajayam” It means the greatest joy for a warrior is to be defeated in battle by his son. When your mentee surpasses you in his/her accomplishments, it gives you an indescribable happiness. I have been fortunate to experience this joy of being beaten in the game by my own mentees, both in communication and leadership. That makes the journey really worthwhile!
Lao Tzu sums it up beautifully when he says “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”
Let us all grow together and help others grow in service leadership.
Nagaraja Rao, DTM