In 2010 a friend shared a video that changed my view of the role of leaders. In his landmark Ted Talk, Simon Sinek explained that great leaders inspire action by communicating their “why.”
Like you, I have been frustrated by command and control managers who suck the joy out of work. I have also felt the empowerment of authentic leaders who inspired me to willingly give more than I thought possible. Sinek’s video caused me to reflect on my why and how I show up as a leader. Having a personal why is vital for achieving personal fulfillment. It is also critical for leaving a positive residue on those who follow your leadership. I have shared my discovery process and personal why to help others pursue their own authentic leadership paths.
My Why: Build Bridges. Serve Others. Lead Authentically
I Build Bridges over fear because I believe we are all more powerful than we think. Fear is an enemy of greatness. Failure, embarrassment, isolation, and making others feel inferior are fears that hold us back. Instead of unleashing our unique power, fear seduces us to sabotage others in hopes that our dormant gifts might shine against the darkness of someone else’s failure. When we defeat fear even our limitedness is more than enough to rise to a standard of excellence. My greatest passion is to build a bridge for others who are motivated to succeed. I choose to praise lavishly, have the tough conversations, challenge assumptions, and exemplify creativity to solve problems.
I Serve Others because I believe everyone needs help achieving goals. We are not served by well-intended clichés that only validate: “Self-sufficiency, Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, Self-made man, Army of One, Rambo and John Wayne”. Fighting for credit only robs us of the power of true collaboration. As problems grow more complex and the stakes increase, insecurities tempt us to guard our information, measure our support, hoard resources, and be skeptical of anyone sharing “a little too freely”. I believe the best solutions come when we seek to create value and solve problems irrespective of credit; possibly even for people we may never meet. I actively connect with likeminded, courageous leaders, and organizations who are passionate about helping others realize their potential inclusive of and beyond the bottom-line.
I Lead Authentically because I believe God has provided all that I need to lead. Some may realize short-term gain without core values, refuse transparency, or sway with the winds of popularity. My best is obligated to an ancestry who sacrificed for me to be who I am today, a family who depends on me as a role model, and generations who stand on my shoulders for something greater than I can imagine today. My life is forged by accomplishment and disappointment. My skills are honed by world-class training and top tier education. I challenge myself, take risks, learn humbly, and adapt quickly so that I leave a positive leadership residue on those who choose to follow.
What is your “why?”
Galen Bingham is passionate about leadership. Through his site, Leadership Residue, he coaches people on how to lead better and live better.