Are you a leader who lingers? You know the type — she says good morning and waits for you to reciprocate — hoping to take hold of that split second encounter to make your day a little brighter. Perhaps she asks how you’re doing each day and waits to hear your response. Maybe she doesn’t say much at all, but she shows up when you need her most — to advise or simply to listen.
Leaders who linger stick around after faculty meetings, mingle at the office mixer, take pictures at the baby shower, and wait with you when your car breaks down. Leaders who linger eat lunch when you do, tell great stories, laugh at your jokes, and comfort you when you’re hurting. They know your story, your kids’ names, and what makes you smile.
Lingering is sometimes seen as a negative thing, but consider the alternative when thinking of leaders. There are far too many who walk right past you without uttering a work or demand your respect by any means necessary. They don’t meet your glance and you rarely see eye-to-eye, and should you end up in their cross hairs, you know you’ll never get a fair shake again.
A leader without followers is just someone taking a walk. ~John Maxwell
Be the type of leader that people eagerly follow. Blaze a trail to excellence in leadership and watch your followers do the same. It requires effort, consistency, and authenticity to be the Trailblazer you were called to be. Being a trailblazing leader requires vulnerability and transparency, not super powers. Be strong enough to do what you delegate and wise enough to know when someone else’s talents are better suited for the task at hand. That will garner respect and a perpetual following.
Five Traits of a Trailblazer
- You know your WHY. Every leader can tell you why she leads and when she first knew she was destined to lead. She can regale you with stories of her humble beginnings at the helm. It wasn’t always glamorous, but the rough roads paved the way for the smooth ones.
- Takes time to linger. We all know how busy you are, but carving out time each day to see your team members face-to-face where they spend their days is time well spent. Never be so busy that you’re merely making an appearance. Engage, empower, and elevate your people.
- Celebrates Often. A Trailblazer is skilled at monitoring the temperature of her followers. She highlights their personal and professional accomplishments, and coaches them in areas that need shoring up. When one succeeds, we all succeed.
- Hungers for Knowledge. Trailblazers learn something new every day and give credit where credit is due. They have a ravenous appetite for knowledge, and they promptly apply it in their daily practices. Trailblazers are Lead Learners who never ask you to do something they haven’t already done.
- Thirsts for Innovation. Change is necessary for sustainability. Trailblazers are always finding new ways to refine old practices. They read, attend conferences, and watch webinars — all in the pursuit of something fresh to breathe new life into antiquated practices.
You can be a Trailblazer too, but you must constantly enlarge your territory and redefine your borders. You can’t do it alone, and it’s not necessary to do so. You can accomplish more with many hands. After all, we’re Better Twogether, and Trailblazers are leading the charge.
Do you want to be a Trailblazer in leadership? In the classroom? In your community? I can certainly help to transform you into the Trailblazer you are destined to be. Click the the link to learn more about me, and then drop me a line. The world needs a leader just like you.