I’ve seen a lot of pictures with the difference between a leader and a boss.
Boss, Leader, Builder?
Almost everyone talks about wanting to become a leader or to lead like ‘this guy’ or ‘this lady.’ They aren’t wrong, but they aren’t right. As a writer, it becomes harder because by nature, we ‘lead’ ourselves.
Except that, most of us do not do this. We don’t lead. We might say that we lead and we might say we have a team. Language comes very easy for the writer. We don’t have to think about saying “I” or “we” all we do is do it.
What is the power of the leader?
They are both the boss, and the leader of a group. They are the ones who people want to talk to and are the ones who make the final choice. However, not every person is cut out to be a great leader. I would argue anyone can lead. Anyone with some training can take on a leadership role, and be considered a leader.
The power is not in how we work but in how we view the people around us. Here at Living a Life of Writing, we have a team. As a team we have a leader. We have a group of diverse people who have a commitment to writing and growing this website. The problem is not that one person leads but how people develop.
I’ve been writing on this website since 2008, and one would think I am a natural leader. I’m not. Most of the time, when the blog first began, I was responsible for one person: myself. It meant that I had to write the posts, do the background work, make the plans and keep myself motivated. This is not leading, this is simply motivating yourself to work harder.
When I gathered new teammates, I didn’t look for a more leadership style people, I looked for independent minded writers. I looked for people whom I wouldn’t have to be as responsible for, and as a result I held my own power as a leader and as a writer, back. Leadership is about building up and improving the team.
Why would I say holding myself back, as a writer?
I’m not a confident person by nature. Over many years I’ve had challenges, and my initial reaction when there were problems was to blame myself. If things went wrong, it was my fault. In the life of a writer, this is a dangerous thing. It held me back because I wanted to be better, but I was hurting as person. Leaders, the best ones have challenges, but they aren’t the ones who complain. What I was doing was ‘complaining’ just not in the regular way people though.
I didn’t feel strong enough to be a leader, and held back on encouraging others to be better. Not by being negative, but letting them “do their own thing.” I tried to believe I was leading but my mind didn’t accept I could lead, because I wasn’t leading. I had many changes in writers on this website over the years, and while many would say they enjoyed working with me, their hearts weren’t in the writing. I didn’t hold them back, but I didn’t lead them either.
The power of the leader is to both push your follow team members, but to push yourself beyond what you normally do. The leader is not who does what but who makes people want to be better. If you aren’t coaching your team correctly you aren’t the powerful leader you should be.
The power of the leader is the same as the power of a writer. Leaders are creative, they are willing to not only work harder but smarter. They are the ones who will learn to step up and take on more pain, and then simply keep going no matter how much it hurts them. They accept challenges that a follower won’t and will not complain about them. The followers don’t need to know this, they simply need to be helped to grow- in this case as a writer and as people.