Leaders We Can Believe In

In my previous post I promised to discuss honesty, the first step in becoming an axiom leader.  I began to write the post shortly after the last one, but struggled to finish it.  My thoughts just weren’t coming together.  I stepped back and thought about what might be missing.  I realized that before I could discuss the process of transforming into an axiom leader, I needed to discuss the principle on which leadership rests.  That principle is faith.

As I have said before, leadership is a privilege given to a person by those who follow.  You do not become a leader just because you have been given a title or a position of authority.  Leadership is achieved when those who follow willingly give their full heart, talent, intelligence and energy toward your cause.   In other words, they have chosen to act and wield their power for you.  They choose to do this because they have faith in you.

I distinguish action and power on purpose.  People can give you their actions, but not their heart.  You can motivate someone fairly easily to give you their “hands and feet,” meaning they just show up and do exactly as they are directed (i.e. actions) and nothing more, or you can get their “whole self” and receive their hearts and mind as well (i.e. power).  When heart and minds are engaged you access the power of the individual.  Accessing that power is the more difficult aspect of leadership and the key to truly leading a great company.

(Hands & Feet) + (Heart & Mind) = Whole Person.  In short, Action + Power = Whole Person. 

So how does faith relate to action and power?  Faith is defined as “the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”.  Faith is the moving cause of action.  Faith is what penetrates the heart. 

A simple example of faith as a principle of action is when people work for a period of time because they believe they will receive a paycheck at the end.  They hadn’t seen the paycheck or received the cash prior to the work being performed, but they have seen evidence that they would receive that paycheck based on their observations of other people and the company’s ability to operate.

A simple example of faith as a principle of power is when someone does something that has never been done before.   In other words, someone is given a challenge that seems insurmountable, but after engaging their heart, talent and intelligence, seemingly breaks through with a new innovation, a new approach, or a new way of applying knowledge.  Think of the iPhone or any other Apple product right now.  Apple changed the world through their innovations.  They accessed the brilliance and power of individuals to do and create things that had not been done before.

So, in order to truly become an axiom leader, you must gain the faith of your people so they willingly give you their action and power.  Two things are necessary for a person to have faith in you and your organization:

  1. An idea of your character, attributes and principles that guide you and your organization 
  2. An actual knowledge that the course of action they are pursuing aligns with you and the principles that guide you and your organization

Understanding the principle of faith allows us to return to and begin discussing the first step of transforming into an axiom leader.  Why was this discussion on faith necessary?  Because axiom leadership transformation is really a transformation of character, a development of attributes, and a discovery of principles.  Once you have transformed yourself, you are prepared to go to the next step in the organizational alignment process and transform your executive team. 

But now I’m getting ahead of myself.  We are still focused on transforming you.  My next post will explore the first step in your own leadership transformation – honesty. 

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