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Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Blog, Leadership, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Leadership is Not a Commodity

Two weeks ago we began a Leadership Series. Last week we covered the first morsel: The Enemy of Good is Better. Did you think about what tissue you are damaging in your own life by trying to make things perfect instead of letting things be good enough? Two weeks ago we began a Leadership Series

This week we are going to look at Morsel 3: Leadership is not a Commodity. (If you remember, there are 4 morsels numbered 1, 3, 5, and 7).


As we continue on our journey together to discover more about leadership, I can’t help but reflect on this modern culture we find ourselves in.

As capitalists, we often ask “is there a way to monetize that?” (whatever “that” is)! Making money is great (I personally, can’t wait until I can get my next Harley!)  I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask that question, but it seems this question has become the driving force among those in leadership. What I am saying instead, is that there is SO MUCH MORE to consider.  We think about the money and forget to ask some very important questions:

  •     What exactly am I monetizing?
  •     What impact will it have on our lives?
  •     How will I achieve it?

Just because we can monetize something doesn’t mean it makes the world a better place. Sometimes it is those things we can’t monetize that have the largest impact!

Think of a few of our greatest leaders… Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln? Did they ask “How are we going to monetize that?

No! They simply met the demand that reality asked and we will never ever forget them. That’s called legacy! Try to put a value on that!

Who else comes to your mind?

Leadership cannot be monetized, but we try!  When we Google “leadership” we find a plethora of courses we can quickly take and earn a certificate in leadership. Stop and think with me for a minute…does this even make sense? That’s not at all how leadership works! Leadership can only be developed in the lab of life (among people) not from studying a book and taking a test!  It’s cultivated by daily brushing up against real life mentors and real-world experiences!

Think about it …. are you preoccupied with the certificates and courses, or are you surrounding yourself with people that care about your growth and development as a leader? Don’t we all know that person who expects us to respect and follow them because of the letters behind their name? (You know who I’m talking about…). Maybe you even have a bunch of fancy letters behind your name (you know who you are (Ph.D., M.S., J.S., LCSW, CFRE, PE). Many of us do, and that’s great, but earning the letters is the easy part. It is proving ourselves at a true leader, one whose leadership was not bought but earned that is the true challenge!

This week, before pursuing another degree or certificate or signing up for another course, think about the demands of your reality.  Is that really the best way to meet those demands and develop the skills you need? Perhaps you could seek out a mentor instead? I bet you already know someone who has the skills you desire and would be happy to mentor you for free! You won’t earn a new certificate to hang on your wall or add to your resume, but you will have something far greater, the respect of those around you and the skills to meet the demands of your reality.  And as a result, you too will leave a legacy!




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