Leadership is not found in a title – it is found in those who lead. It is the actions, ideas, and practices forged through experience. It is something that is recognized when it is seen and felt by those being led.
Leadership involves more than being the head of a team. While leadership typically comes with elevated authority, successful leaders need not lean on that authority to lead their team. Leaders lean on the respect and trust between themselves and their team to lead their team to success.
It takes many strong qualities to lead and to be seen and respected as a leader. It requires a level of self development and understanding that some are not willing to work to.
So, what is leadership to a team?
Being a leader is a position of strength. It is admirable, it is respected, and it is a position of high responsibility and high reward when done effectively. Leadership is where the Tenets come to life in a setting outside of oneself. Leadership is far from easy and is a test of one’s mettle. It has the potential to test a person in many ways as the challenges of the mission often do not reveal themselves until they are unearthed. Even the best strategies must leave enough lateral movement for tactics to address issues as they come up.
Leadership of a team pulls from each of the Tenets to frame what it takes to be a competent and respected leader.
Leaders are strong individuals – both mentally and physically. A leader’s strength is something that is felt rather than explained – a leader’s team knows when they are in the presence of true strength.
Physical strength may not be required to carry out the tasks of a leader today; however, physical strength still remains a core characteristic of a competent leader. While a leader’s physical abilities may not help them to perform direct job duties, there is a lot that is understood about oneself mentally and emotionally that can only come through training one’s body. Through strength training, one forges new connections and understandings with their body, their confidence and sureness of self increases, and they have a different understanding of discipline and integrity that those who do not train their bodies will not understand.
Further, the physical strength is a metaphor for what it meant to be a leader in a more primal time. A leader’s responsibility was to protect their tribe from the outside – to protect their “us” from “them”. In an unrefined time violence was common and a leader must have been prepared to fight for what was theirs. This primal response is still alive and well today even if we do not acknowledge it outright – people are more apt to respect the person with a strong, fit physique than not.
A physically weak leader may often be seen as equally mentally weak.
Mental strength and endurance is the other side of strength that a leader must embody. Not only does it take mental fortitude to make decisions and attack problems, they must accept the responsibilities of performing such job duties with grace and ease. The apparent ease with which one is able to accept the rigors of leadership will determine the confidence that one’s team has in the abilities of their leader. This directly feeds into the loyalty and support that that leader will have from their team and the mutual trust between team and leader that is necessary to a team’s success.
A leader must carry intensity with them into battle for the team will feed from their energy. Intensity is found under a heavy barbell and in study of strong leaders that have come before. It is through training the body and mind that one’s confidence is strengthened and turned into the hunger to succeed.
The conviction that a leader brings to their role of enacting strategy is founded in the strength and belief in the systems that they put together. Weakness seen in a leader will create unease in the ranks.
The most effective leaders rely on discipline amongst the ranks to perform job duties in alignment with the mission requirements. It is through discipline that the lower ranks of the team perform as is expected by the team leadership.
Low discipline teams will not be bought into the larger mission and will rely on motivation to complete project tasks. It is this reliance on motivation that will produce inconsistent and unreliable work products, which will make it difficult for the leader to monitor progress or keep confidence in the performance of the team. A leader that fails to create a disciplined environment makes the team’s performance suffer as well as their job harder.
In order to create such an environment of discipline the leader must embody the discipline that they expect of their followers. Without the ability to lead by example, a leader will have little chance of effectively creating such an environment.
The leader’s role is to push their team to perform efficiently. A leader must do this through setting deadlines for both themselves and their team and requiring that all parties, including themself, meet the deadlines set. Requiring the team to deliver on their commitments is the bedrock from which the team’s discipline will be built upon. Without this easy foundation of trust and discipline, the team will have little chance of being disciplined elsewhere.
An effective leader builds teams up with Integrity – completeness and unity of all resources to maximize the efficiency of efforts of the team. It is the completeness and unification of resources that foster synergy amongst the team.
The attitude of teamwork is affected directly by a leader’s ability to integrate all parts and pieces of a team into the end goal. A leader must lead with the understanding that they are part of the team. A leader is not a boss and is not above the culture and values of the team as a whole. Any leader that puts themselves above the team loses their place as a leader and instead becomes a dictator or boss.
Unity across all of the ranks will create strength that is stronger than the sum of the parts.
A leader must understand that they are no longer only responsible for their own scope – all of the scope of their team is now their responsibility. The entire team’s performance is a reflection on the abilities of the leader. A strong leader will get more production and better product out of a team than that same team will produce under a less competent leader.
Creating a highly disciplined team makes large strides toward that team being built with Integrity. Through discipline all parts of the team will perform their tasks that support the other branches of the team. The ability of one side of the team to rely on the other side of the team creates unity among the ranks.
The Initiated Philosophy and Initiated Lifestyle is built on the foundation of only four Tenets – Strength, Discipline, Integrity, and Leadership as these four concepts are all that are needed to build an Initiated life.
I used this Transmission to show how Leadership is supported by the other three Tenets in an effort to not only provide insight into why Leadership is important, but to show the Integrity and synergy that is possible through the study of the depth of these four Tenets.
Leadership may be where the Tenets are brought out to others, but it is also how one approaches themself.
The Initiated are leaders in all senses of the word. They can lead teams as well as be their own leaders of their lives.
Forge Strength, Discipline, and Integrity – go forth and lead.
Yours in strength
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