How to Be a Helper Instead of a Hero: Part One

This season is requiring something different from you as a leader. 

How you led historically doesn’t have the same impact. 

The pace of change around you is dizzying and the expectation to keep up with it all is debilitating.

Our entire way of life has been upended by a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and escalated racial tension. The emotional resilience of our society is being tested at every level.

To lead well in this season is going to require something different.
Results from an extensive multi-phase research project revealed startling statistics in how radically the values of consumers have shifted as a result of COVID-19. Pre-pandemic consumers responded to marketing that promised success, influence, and status. (Remember how your social media feeds were flooded with experts telling you how to be as successful as they are?)

Within days of the impact of the pandemic, consumer values completely shifted to a desire for support, safety, and trust. 

Support, safety and trust became our guiding concerns, seemingly overnight.  

What this report reveals are the values that are most influencing people in this season. For leaders to be effective they must know what people value, and they must adjust their leadership to meet people where those values intersect real life.

People don’t care about your influence if you’re not using that influence to support them. 

They don’t need you to be the hero. They need to know if you’ll help them.

They are not concerned about your success. They need to feel confident they can trust you.  

Catalytic moments require a conscientious response from us as leaders. 

While I’m intrigued by this seismic value shift reflected in this research report, what I’m more interested in is what it means for us as leaders.  It indicates that how we think as leaders must also shift to match the values of those we lead. It gives us greater insight into what is needed from us to connect with people and lead them forward. 

Today’s culture is demanding a different leader. A leader who has the emotional intelligence to lead himself or herself well, to navigate the critical moments for your organization, and the ability to discern the emotional current of the team and the culture.

I believe there are three important perspectives that leaders need to embrace throughout their leadership journey that will equip them to think differently and lead better. These perspective shifts were always essential for leaders, but the complexity of rapid change makes them especially critical right now. 

Perspective #1: Leadership is Not About You

Why do you want to lead?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Let’s be honest, sometimes leading others feels more like herding cats than guiding sheep.

Leadership is challenging in the best of circumstances. It’s excruciating in crisis. 

Now, more than ever, you need to be clear about why you’re leading. 

The role of the leader is to serve others, to identify the gifts of your team, and deploy them in pursuit of a shared goal.

Many of us aspire to leadership for the perceived sense of power or influence it will give us. This likely is not a conscious aspiration, but positions of leadership come with greater authority and responsibility.  The sexy side of authority and responsibility is power and influence. 

If we’re not conscious of this, we’re likely to underestimate the true cost of leadership. 

Leadership is not about you or for you. It’s not for your success, your praise, or your future.  Leadership is all about others. 

If we don’t have this perspective right, we’ll never fully embrace the sacred and sacrificial calling of leadership. 

Your “why” is the foundation for everything you do as a leader. When our “why” is clear it gives us the courage to keep leading through the challenging days.

Have you asked yourself lately why you’re leading? It’s critical you take a pause and do that now. Do the heart check. If your answer isn’t to serve, guide, protect, and lead others, it’s time to reevaluate your motive and get clear about the purpose of leadership.

It’s not about you. 

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Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.

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