Got Mandates?

Invoking mandates as a leader…means relying on position and title to effectively lead what should come from influence and skill-set.

True, authentic leaders are seldom born…they are created.  Their abilities and skills forged and honed in grit and determination.  It is a blood, sweat and tears proposition.  Framed and propelled through perseverance and will.  There are no days off.  And definitely no free rides.  Accountability and responsibility are self-imposed…and never taken lightly.  Position and title are less about what they can give you and more about the doors they can open to support and serve others.

And yet, not all leaders are cut from this same piece of cloth…

For some, it is very much about the title, the position…the big office.  Perks and privilege are the name of the game.  Service is for those suckers who never made it to the big show.  It is the glitzy side of leadership…fueled by fanfare and pageantry.  A spectacle of fireworks and disorder created to hide the holes in their leadership tool-belt.

As you will often find, the glitzy side of leadership is often founded in mandates and edicts…

When leaders lack the authenticity and skill-set to lead effectively, they turn to mandates…to a command and control style of leadership.  They see mandates as a short-cut to success.  A way to circumvent the system.  Which will work for a time…

What authentic leaders understand is that there are no short-cuts to success.  No way to avoid the trials, tribulations…the hard work necessary to lead others and organizations effectively.  When leadership lacks authenticity…it usually lacks endurance.  Which eventually, in one way or another, comes out in the wash…

Authentic leaders understand the perplexity that real leadership presents…

  • Great leadership is founded in serving others.
  • Great leaders are great followers.
  • Great leaders give credit and accept blame.
  • Great leaders provide autonomy to gain influence.

And great leaders understand that any manager can invoke mandates and edicts across an organization.  

Whereas, it takes real, authentic leadership to garner the trust and commitment necessary to collectively push forward a vision or initiative.  For trust and commitment are never acquired through a short-cut…rather, it is in the trenches, in the day in and day out.  And every time you allow your leadership to turn to a mandate…you lose a little bit of that trust, commitment and influence.  A little bit of that authenticity.

Which is why, as a leader, it is always worth remembering…

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”  -Publilius Syrus


1 thought on “Got Mandates?

  1. “Providing autonomy to gain influence.” A good rule of thumb for teachers as well in their classrooms! Rather than lead from fear of losing control, true influence and credibility (leadership capital!) come from leading with the belief that people in your organization (or class) have an innate desire to do meaningful work while having permission to engage in genuine trial and error. Thank you for your thoughts.

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