This is a guest post by Michael Mpofu. Michael is a Research and Communications Officer. A great young leader and communicator passionate about inspiring others to great leadership and significance. He blogs (less than he should) here.
I’ve had the privilege of being part of something greater than me. An opportunity to play whatever leadership role I have been asked to… I’ve learnt a valuable lesson:
Simply that some of our best leaders are not always the most talented, but the most committed.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to sit around tables with some brilliant leaders, and can say that the mark of their great leadership was evident not on their abilities (which were exceptional), but their commitment.
The trouble, I think, is that we too easily assume that the one with the gift is the one poised for leadership, heir to the throne, or however you would put it. But his / her gift is worth nothing if they aren’t committed to the vision. This might seem rather obvious, but very often, the opposite happens.
We often look around for the gifted one among us to do the job but overlook the person who has been there from the beginning. Don’t get me wrong; one has to be adding value to the team.
So the question is how do we “test” commitment?
The answer is simple: we don’t, people often do it for you. They test themselves.
In observing those that have gone before me and are farther ahead on the road, I’ve learnt that time will separated the committed, from the non-committed.
This will then help you lay the foundation and give you the best opportunity to invest in those that have chosen to attend those meetings, go the extra mile, send those emails or pick up whatever needs to be fetched.
Time separates groups and categories of people well.
It is often from those who have stuck it out, that your best leaders emerge, because you don’t have to teach them anything about the need for commitment, they already have it. And it is often that your most committed are the ones most willing to learn.
Am I saying we don’t have a responsibility to inspire people to that place? Absolutely not!
But I am saying that after you have tried your level best to do so, the choice is often the individual’s to make.
Some of the greatest “would have been” leaders are on the sidelines because they simply failed to show commitment.
For example, you can fault a bad basketball team full of “stars”, the best players in the land, that DOESN’T train and loses!
But you cannot fault a team, with average players, but puts in the yards, and while it may lose, they have shown their heart.
The trouble is we only realize it after some time that perhaps they weren’t the most obvious choice because of their gift.
So perhaps next time when looking for your “go-to” man / woman, keep it in mind, that time will separate the gifted from the committed, then only can you begin to build something significant.