In Search of Renewal: A Leader’s JourneyAugust 7, 2014 / byMaria Garcia / Categories : Blog
Are leaders born? Or can they be developed into leaders? Over and over, these questions are asked. I personally think that leaders are born, but also feel someone can be taught to be a leader. Some people are born into becoming a leader by circumstance, others are just born with the desire to lead. Regardless of the situation, every leader must continually renew themselves in order to stay competitive.
Social Leaders and Political Leaders:
There are great examples of leaders in the past who took a stand for a particular cause. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. for example, he lived in an age of racial inequality. He was a leader in the African American Civil Rights. He took a stand and became a circumstantial great leader – he showed the need to make a change.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
She was born a leader, with the innate passion to help the needy one. She was a missionary of charity, and had the passion and desire to take a stand. She was involved in many charitable organizations, and was devoted to serve the “wholehearted free services to the poorest of the poor”.
We know about all the good that these people did, and we also know of all the followers they had and the legacies they left behind. But do we really know what they really went through? Do we really know what kind of challenges they faced? How did they overcome the pressure, stress and loneliness of the dedication to their cause? We only know what was on the surface. We will never know what they went through during their tribulations and renewal process.
As leaders, we should integrate a renewal process as part of our development. Great leaders in today’s world go through what I call a renewal phase in order to stay competitive. These renewal processes are similar to that of an eagle in many ways. Consider the following:
An eagle has a keen vision, they can reach a distance for more than 50 miles. They must have this kind of vision to spot their prey in order to survive. Eagles have their eyes angled 30 degrees away from the middle allowing them to have magnificent vision.
Leaders must have a vision. It needs to be clear, focused, and easy for everyone to understand. The leader needs to have this kind of vision if he or she is going to lead. They need to set the foundation, lead by example, inspire, and share it as clear as he or she can. The bible wisely stated in Proverbs 29:18 King James version “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. As a leader, one needs to have a vision in order to know where we are, and where we are going. Otherwise, how would we lead? A leaders needs to have vision for the future, even if no one can see it. Without vision, how would we know when we are reaching a milestone, or close to obtaining a particular goal? Vision is a powerful survival tool of a leader. It is the fuel used to drive you to a destination or through a journey. When adversity comes, it is the vision and purpose that helps leaders continue their journey, using it as hope to reach their destination. Without it, a leader cannot lead any teams locally, globally, socially or political.
Don’t be afraid.
Eagles are birds who are not afraid. Have you ever seen an eagle in action? They do not back off, regardless of the size of their prey. They will go against anything to protect it’s territory or to obtain it’s prey. They are very strategic on how they attack prey larger than them, and most of the time they come up with a solution in the end to conquer their prey.
Leaders are brave, courageous, don’t back down, and stand for what they believe in. They conquer any challenges to obtain their goals. Leaders know there will be challenges and obstacles, but they have learned to be strategical thinkers to overcome things in their path. One thing that makes great leaders so remarkable is their ability to be resilient, and withstand the most challenging situations they come across- in order to purse their passions, dreams, objectives or goals. They don’t back off and they don’t quit in the middle. When adversity comes they act strategically with determination.
Rise above the storms.
Eagles fly above the storms, with most birds fly away from the storm with fear. The way to conquer fear is by dealing with it face to face, instead of running away from it. Great leaders look at a challenge, and look for solutions. Leaders are persistent, determined, strong willed and patient.
Endure the pain.
The Eagle’s renewal process happens at approximately the age of 30. This is when their physical body starts to deteriorate, making them prey instead of the predator. They go into a renewal state, which is extremely painful and lasts about 5 months. As a sign of strength, the eagle chooses to endure the pain in order to survive. The process starts with the eagle knocking off its beak by banging it against rocks. It plucks out it’s talons and feathers. They go for a long period of vulnerability and they must hide because they are now easy prey. This painful renewal allows them to live another 30 to 40 more years.
Sometimes in the life of a leader, we need a time of renewal. We need routine check ups and tune ups. We need to refocus, gain strengths and re-evaluate our goals and actions to see if they match up. We need to learn new ways of doing things. Sometimes, we need to keep our mouth shut and listen. As leaders, we need to re-examine our motives, actions and weaknesses and work on renewing ourselves. Sometimes it’s painful to discover our weaknesses and blind spots, but it is a necessary step for our survival and to lead purposely. Sometimes it is our mouth we need to renew, and modify our communication style. The way we communicate might just need a check up. We might see ourselves communicating in one way, but others perceive us in a totally different way. This is where a wise leader needs to learn how to look in the mirror, have an open mind and make the necessary change.
As leaders, we need to show our vulnerability from time to time. When we show people, we become more human, more trustworthy. We are showing ourselves as a real human being, with great strengths but also deficiencies. If we were to teach others how to evaluate their inner self, we must also show that we can do it for ourselves as well.
Leaders don’t always have the answers to everything. A great leader, seeks input from other people and work as a team to find solutions that benefit everyone. Sometimes as a leader we must go under a total transformation period in order to survive and stay competitive. We need to always be learning new ways to be more effective leaders.
Be strong, yet gentle.
Research has shown that eagles are very attentive and gentle with their young. They strategically teach them how to fly. When the time comes, the female eagle gathers them onto her back and suddenly swoops out from under the eaglet to allow them to fall. She then catches them from falling all the way down, until they learn what their wings are for.
True leaders know it sometimes takes several times before a person can learn something or grasp the concept of something new. They are patient, and allow people the time they need to learn and never give up on them. They strive to develop everyone to their fullest potential. They teach using trial and error and continuously give them challenges and timely feedback. They are always empowering and re-directing their team as necessary. Great leaders are firm on their purpose but gentle in their process to achieve it. Great leaders don’t command, they lead by example. They take time to develop and engage with their people in order to teach them, guide them and finally empower them to achieve greatness. This is the real job of a leader- to develop, empower and let go.
Remember to be effective leaders, we must constantly seek renewal.
Comment below, we want to hear from you! What steps do you take to renew yourself as a leader?